Traveling, as Odysseus did, one was always at risk of encountering mythological monsters and ghosts. Monsters could represent danger and the unknown, while ghosts informed about the past or future. In Japan, while the Tanuki is a real animal, a raccoon dog (see below), that runs wild, it still holds some mythological status.
In old Japanese stories, Tanuki were often associated with bad omens and haunting people. Throughout folklore, they were viewed as supernatural, known for shapeshifting and tricking people. Their reputation has covered a lot of ground from mythological monster to deity.
My Tanuki have gathered deep in the bamboo forest under a full moon. Fireflies spirits of those departed, surround them and advise them in their plotting.
Tanuki: Shapeshifters (39" x 40") was created from a digital drawing. It is machine pieced and raw-edge appIiqued from Japanese yarn-dyed cottons. Finished with machine quilting and topstitching with hand embroidery.
I'm looking forward to encountering a real Tanuki in my travels.