Tengu by Toriyama Sekien

This image is from Toriyama Sekien's Gazu Hyakki Yako, an illustrated book of Japanese folklore, published in 1776. More information on the artist is available here.

In Japanese mythology, Tengu are mountain and forest goblins. They were both guardians and tricksters. Tengu are depicted in many forms, and the stories about them have evolved over time. They have many supernatural powers, including shape-shifting into human or animal forms, the ability to speak to humans without moving their mouth, the ability to teleport instantly from place to place without using their wings, and the sorcery to appear uninvited in the dreams of the living.

Tengu are patrons of martial arts, and were considered to be skilled warriors . There are many stories in which a warrior seeks out tengu in order to obtain training and martial arts secrets.

Tengu are mischief makers, especially prone to playing tricks on the arrogant and vain and punishing those who willfully misuse knowledge and authority to gain fame or position.

This image is in the public domain because the copyright has expired.