This illustration was inspired by the Japanese folklore Crane Wife, in which an injured crane returns favor to a poor man who saved her from hunters. While there are many variations to the story, common themes emphasize curiosity, greed, and broken promises. In one version, the crane later returns to the man as his wife. Because they need money, she offers to weave silk they can sell at the market, as long as the husband promises not to watch her weaving. Unbeknownst to the husband, the crane wife is plucking her own feathers to make the silk, which is making her progressively ill. Though the man can see his wife becoming more and more sick, he continues to encourage her to create greater quantities of silk. Eventually, the husband, desperate to know her secret for weaving such desirable silk, peeks in on his wife and is shocked to find a crane at the loom. Disappointed by the man, the crane flies away, never to return.
Crane and peonies, made from a hand-carved block, printed on archival paper using professional block printing ink. Numbered, titled, and signed on the back.
Paper size: 13” x 19”
Limited Edition of 20
Paper: Thai banana leaf paper, natural color, acid free, four deckled edges. Made from a mixture of kozo and banana leaves, this paper is full of natural fibers and wooden particles, and has a rich organic texture.
Ink: Cranfield oil-based block printing ink, lightfast pigment in black.