With Arms to Guide His Golden Mount (Te-Naga and Ashi-Naga)

With Arms to Guide His Golden Mount

⊛ cut paper / wood
⊛ 14 x 6 in • 356 x 152 mm
⊛ private collection

The easiest way to save energy is to saddle someone else with the hard work. Allow me to introduce you to Te-naga (long arms) and Ashi-naga (long legs). Not the most imaginatively named of the Japanese Obakemono (ghosts, monsters and creepy critters of all persuasions), these two are almost certainly the most symbiotic.

Although they were believed to come from separate nations, Te-naga and Ashi-naga were often seen working together, much like the Constructicons, except that they did stuff like fishing instead of consistently failing to crush the Autobots. They did, on occasion, snack on a puny human or two. But what else can you expect from (a) giant(s).

The original creatures were usually portrayed as equals, and that was how I first approached the drawing. As the sketches evolved, so did Te-naga and Ashi-naga's relationship. It is only fitting I suppose, seeing how the hand has often been regarded as a symbol of power. The foot; not so lucky.

David Cronenberg has an interesting outlook on the independence and colonialism of the body parts, which ties in nicely with these two guys.

I don't think that the flesh is necessarily treacherous, evil, bad. It is cantankerous, and it is independent. The idea of independence is the key. It really is like colonialism. The colonies suddenly decide that they can and should exist with their own personality and should detach from the control of the mother country. At first the colony is perceived as being treacherous. It's a betrayal. Ultimately, it can be seen as the separation of a partner that could be very valuable as an equal rather than as something you dominate.

Illustration Friday