玉取姫 "Princess Jewel Taker" Tamatori-hime Post Card
Vintage Japanese Block Printing
On this Post Card is the beautiful historical vintage Japanese block print depiction of when the heroine, Princess Tamatori, steals Ryūjin's (the Dragon King of the Sea) tide jewels, while she was threatened by all sea creatures. Original by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.
The fable of Tamatori-hime 玉取姫 "Princess Jewel Taker", which was a favourite ukiyo-e subject of Utagawa Kuniyoshi, is a variation of the Hoori and Toyatama-hime love story. Tamatori was supposedly an ama diver who married Fujiwara no Fuhito and recovered a precious jewel that the Sea God stole. The legend of Princess Tamatori (Tamatorihime), or Ama, developed around the historical figure Fujiwara no Kamatari (614-69), who was the founder of the powerful Fujiwara clan. Upon Kamatari’s death, the Tang dynasty emperor, who had received Kamatari’s beautiful daughter as a consort, sent three priceless treasures to Japan in order to comfort his grieving lover by honouring her father. One of the treasures, a pearl, was stolen by the dragon king during a storm on its way to Japan in the inlet of Fusazaki. Kamatari’s son Fujiwara no Fuhito (659-720) went in search of the pearl to the isolated area where he met and married a beautiful pearl diver named Ama, who bore him a son. Ama, full of love for their son, vowed to help recover the stolen pearl. After many failed attempts, Ama was finally successful when the dragon and grotesque creatures guarding it were lulled to sleep by music. Upon reclaiming the treasure, she came under pursuit by the awakened sea creatures. She cut open her breast to place the pearl inside for safekeeping the resulting flow of blood clouded the water and aided her escape. She died from the resulting wound but is revered for her selfless act of sacrifice for her husband Fuhito and their son. (Miller 2007:137)
Amas (pearl divers), mostly women, traditionally dived wearing only a loincloth.
From the Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tide_jewels