町田 彫剣 “大蛇”


淵水の深みから身をくねらせ躍り出る大蛇を描いた、町田 彫剣氏による背中額彫りの大作。一見、黒墨のみを用いたカラス彫りのようだが大蛇の目や腹、牡丹の花弁に白や淡い水色が刺されており、それにより黒が一層引き立てられると同時に、全体にそこはかとなく清冽な印象を与えている。


A back piece done by Machida Horiken which depicts a serpent writhing and leaping from a deep water pool. At first glance, it appears to be karasu-bori using only black ink, but the eyes and belly of the serpent and the petals of the peonies are given white or light blue. It enhances the black color and at the same time gives the overall impression of being somewhat limpid.

Horiken’s specialty is to create a neat and also dynamic gaku, and in this work, even the depths and mystique of the water pool where the serpent dwells are skillfully expressed by boldly packing some areas in black.



Snakes have been an object of worldwide belief since ancient times. In Japan, it has been widely worshiped as a fertility god because it preys on rodents and other vermin, and as a water god through its association with the dragon that came from China.

The combination of snakes and peonies can be seen not only in irezumi but also in antiques, but their origin and meaning are not certain. Although they don’t necessarily have to be paired, as in the case of Chinese lions and peonies, they are established as a customary practice.

※町田 彫剣氏のインタビュー記事はこちら
※See Machida Horiken’s interview here
And see more of his work on Instagram

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