“Jigoku Dayu”
町田 彫剣 “地獄太夫”


おどろおどろしい地獄変相の打掛を纏った地獄太夫の艶姿を鮮やかに描いた町田 彫剣氏による胸割り。深みのある額の黒に浮かび上がる大輪の牡丹が、この世のものとは思えぬ太夫の美しさを引き立てている。周りで踊り狂う骸骨は悟りを開き風狂の人となった一休宗純が太夫に見せたとされる幻で、生と死は表裏一体であるという世の無常をユーモラスに示している。

This munewari (split chest style) suit by Machida Horiken vividly depicts the glamorous figure of Jigoku Dayu (or Jigoku Tayu) clad in an uchikake kimono of a horrible scene from hell (Jigoku means hell). The large peonies floating in the deep black of gaku (background) accentuate the out-of-this-world beauty of her. The skeletons dancing around her are said to be a vision shown by Ikkyu Sojun, who became enlightened and enjoyed crazy life. They humorously demonstrate the impermanence of the world, that life and death are inextricably linked.


非常に聡明な女性で若くして亡くなるが、辞世の句「我死なば焼くな埋むな野に捨てて 飢えたる犬の腹を肥やせよ」からは一切衆生への慈悲の心を読み解くことができる。

Jigoku Dayu was a courtesan in the Muromachi period (1336-1573) who was given immense beauty. She was originally the daughter of a samurai family, but was kidnapped by bandits and sold to a red-light distlict. She believed that her miserable situation was due to the fate of her previous life, and to atone those sins she sold her body to appease the worldly desires of her clients without being extravagant. It is said that her earnestness made the zen master Ikkyu say, “She is superior to those depraved priests out there.”

She was a very intelligent woman but died young. From her death haiku “When I die, do not burn me or bury me, but leave me in the field. Then the wild dogs will be able to survive their hunger,” we can decipher her compassion for all life.

※町田 彫剣氏のインタビュー記事はこちら
※See Machida Horiken’s interview here

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