Tsubaki Anna (b. 1970)
Tengu with the Sun
Japan, 2012
Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk
Copyright: Tsubaki Anna
Loan from the artist

The tengu, a supernatural being (yōkai) often associated with the Shintō belief system, is traditionally depicted in Japanese art as a gnome-like creature with a grotesquely elongated nose. Here, however, Tsubaki presents him as a captivatingly attractive man, his muscular right arm decorated with an elaborate tattoo, and his hair rising from his scalp in a coiffure as striking as his silhouetted wings. In 2001, Tsubaki published the portfolio Edo Tōsei Wakashū Hakkei, which celebrated the physical beauty and sexual mystique of samurai, surfers, rock musicians, and men in a variety of other roles.