A nine-tailed fox spirit, a detail copied from Hokusai’s Great Picture Book of Everything and painted in colour (within my limitations)*. These Kitsune or fox spirits feature in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean mythology under different names. The more tails they have, the wiser and more powerful they get. They are able to turn themselves into foxy young human ladies in order to devour unsuspecting young men, but they may also be beneficent and bring good fortune.

In Hokusai’s original, this one is being conjured up by Fumei Chōja, aka the virtuous Indian King Sutasoma.

*In fact it appears that when they get nine tails they turn white: but I’m not repainting!

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