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Yōkai Art From Prehistory To Modernity

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Chapter Summary

Yōkai is a compound word whose two Chinese characters both mean uncanny or eerie. The taikyoku image symbolizes a constant flow of energy and change in all aspects of the universe. According to Taoist philosophy, the same entity, be it a God or a human, can have two faces, a yin and a yang, according to its current energy status. Mononoke is an expression of the primordial untamed energy that is utmostly feared and awed for being supernatural; that is dangerous in its powerfulness and mysteriousness. Artists are responsible for the creation of a certain number of new yōkai; however, the main source of representation of yōkai is folklore and local legends. Japanese mountains contain a large number of mountain deities and yōkai, among which the most characteristic ones are the Oni (demon or ogre), Tengu, Kodama (tree spirit) or Yamabiko (echo).

Keywords: Japanese mountains; Mononoke; taikyoku image; Taoist philosophy; Yōkai; Yamabiko

10.1163/ej.9781906876180.i-180.8
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