A crow from Kyōsai Gadan (暁斎画談), or “Kyōsai’s Treatise on Painting” by Kawanabe Kyōsai

Kyosai’s pictures of crows were very popular, he had a seal made that contained the phrase ‘crows flying over every land’ because because he had sold pictures of crows to people from so many different countries.

The Hell Courtesan was a popular subject during the nineteenth century, and Kyōsai produced several images of her, including the woodblock print below*, from the series Kyōsai rakuga (Kyōsai’s Amusing Pictures) of 1874, a satirical series on the theme of enlightenment, which shows her dozing amid a large group of skeletons that are getting up to all manner of things… playing musical instruments, playing go, drinking sake, and even flower arranging.