Ink on paper, silk mounting
Edo 17-18th century
Collector’s box On the box ; “Ghost playing zither”
Gyokushi playing a one-string zither
A beautiful woman is playing a one-string zither. A dragon is glaring hard and the black ink covering whole the space gives a fearful atmosphere by and large. Woman’s face is full of dignity, rather a goddess than a ghost. The Chinese style costume that she is wearing indicates that she is from China.
These points correspond a legendary Chinese goddess, Gyokushi.
Gyokushi is a Chinese goddess, a daughter of the Goddess Seiōbo (the Queen Mother of the West or Xi Wangmu).
The legend says that all kinds of birds gather around her when she plays a one-string zither, and she moves on the back of a flying white dragon.
On the collector’s box is written “ghost playing zither”, probably the ex-owner thought that this woman is a ghost because her legs are not painted vaguely.