An Ōtsu Icon

Ōtsu e 大津絵 were cheap religious images for the masses, originally sold near the Mii Temple 三井寺 in Ōtsu. They were available depicting a variety of Buddhist deities, hence Bashō’s dilemma: the first stroke of one’s brush in the year, if used for a propitious subject, would bring good fortune, but to appear to value one deity above another might cause offence and bring ill fortune…

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