Collection Online
The Snake Catcher Gamakurō and the Female Dancer Kakehashi

The Snake Catcher Gamakurō and the Female Dancer Kakehashi
(Uwabamitori Gamakurō, Onna Dengaku Kakehashi 巴蛇捕蝦蟇九郎 女田樂桟)
from the Handsome and brave heroes of the Water Margin (Biyū Suikoden 美勇水滸伝) series 1866–67 

colour woodblock
24.4 × 17.8 cm (image and sheet)
Accession Number
Asian Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Asian Art Acquisition Fund, 2013
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Gordon Darling Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
In Japan, snakes (hebi) attain the status of a god whose appearance can bring good luck. The animals are also associated with death and the underworld through myths of the indigenous Japanese religion of nature worship known as Shinto. Snakes are considered to be a god in the form of a dragon (ryū) that possess mythological traits, including enlightenment, fertility and the element of water – with a strong connection to thunder and lightning. This may be related to the shape of a moving snake, which resembles a stylised lightning bolt, or the fact that snakes can strike with the speed and unpredictability of lightning.