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Sekien`s rendering utilizes the Kanji for the creature from the 1712 Wakan Sansai Zue, which describes the creature as a type of bird, capable of transforming into the guise of a woman who would then kidnap children.
His portrayal of the creature, however, is drawn from the 12th Century Konjaku Monogatari-shu which relates how a group of Samurai dare one of them to go to the river to find the Ubume said to reside there. She appears offering the Samurai to hold her baby, he does so, but then refuses to return the child when she asks for it back. Walking away he then finds in his arms a bundle of leaves, and the creature disappeared.1
|Bakemono no e|
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1. Yoda, H. and Alt, M. (2016) “Japandemonium: Illustrated: The Yokai Encyclopaedia of Toriyama Sekien.”. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.
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