Wednesday, April 6, 2016
time, time, time, see what's become of me
This etegami is from my "Life Between Cultures" art journal. As usual, I've tried to incorporate a kind of wordplay that gives the combination of words and image more than one level of meaning.
The image was inspired by the Japanese legend of Urashima Taro, a young fisherman who rescues a turtle and accepts an invitation to visit the palace under the sea where the dragon god lives. There he is lavishly entertained for three days, until he asks to be allowed to return to his village to check on his aged mother. They regretfully let him go, and the dragon god's daughter gives him a mysterious box called a tamatebako to protect him from harm, but which must never, ever be opened.
Taro takes the box and is escorted back to the shore of his village. But he finds that everything has changed. His home, his mother, and everyone he used to know are gone. It appears that 300 years have passed on land while he was at the palace under the sea. Bewildered and grieving, he absent-mindedly opens the tamatebako. A cloud of white smoke bursts out of it, and suddenly Taro is turned into an old, old man with a long white beard and bent back. I find it a sad and puzzling story.