Curling down the scroll, the dragon glares fiercely out at the viewer. Through deep shadows and dramatic highlights, Horiyoshi III emphasizes the sharp scales and gleaming talons of this mythological creature.
About the artist
Horiyoshi III is Japan’s preeminent tebori (hand-tattooing) master. While the world of tattoo remains one of secrecy and exclusivity in Japan, Horiyoshi III has transcended taboo, achieving national and international fame. Born Yoshihito Nakano, Horiyoshi III received his title from the late tebori master and teacher, Yoshitsugu Muramatsu, known as Shodai Horiyoshi. Horiyoshi III apprenticed for Shodai Horiyoshi for ten years. By 28, Horiyoshi III’s bodysuit had been completed, hand-tattooed by Shodai Horiyoshi. Though ukiyo-e officially ended in 1868, Horiyoshi III's artwork carries on the spirit of Edo’s pictures of the floating world, all the while incorporating his own style and a contemporary perspective. This sensitivity to tradition extends beyond his tebori. In recent years, he has focused on traditional kakejiku (Japanese scroll paintings). Rendering Japanese folktales, calligraphy and religious subjects in sumi (black ink) and traditional mineral pigments, Horiyoshi III's artwork interweaves past, present and future.
Horiyoshi III tattoos full time, publishes books of his drawings, and is the founder of Japan’s only tattoo museum with his wife in Yokohama. His work can be found in the permanent collection of the Morikami Museum of Art. With over forty years of experience, he is the foremost authority on traditional Japanese tattooing.