Most of the yokai I’ve painted so far have been kinds of yokai rather than unique creatures. Today’s, however, is not a kind but rather a one-of-a-kind, named yokai.
Seiryuu, also known as The Azure Dragon of the East, is one of the four great gods of Chinese mythology. Like the kirin and the hou-ou, he was brought over from China to Japan more than 1000 years ago, and has since developed his own unique Japanese-ness.
Seiryuu, along with his 3 buddies Byakko, Gembu, and Suzaku, is one of the great symbols of the constellations. He represents the eastern sky as well as seven positions of the moon. The other 3 also have similar designations. (You may remember that I painted Byakko back in January, and I styled this one to match that painting.)
Another interesting fact about Seiryuu’s symbolism is that, in addition to the sky, he also guards and represents a section of Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. Seiryuu is the guardian of the eastern quarter, and his chief temple is the very famed Kiyomizu temple. In fact, when you visit Kiyomizu temple you will probably wash your hands before entering the temple at a fountain adorned with a statue of Seiryuu.
And by the way,the first week’s worth of yokai is now up on my Etsy store! The prints look absolutely wonderful and come matted and ready to frame or even hang as-is. Visit http://osarusan.etsy.com and check out the available yokai!