Mario and Luigi appear in a new artwork that combines traditional Japanese art techniques with the modern-day video game world.
Mario and Luigi caused a buzz last year when they appeared on a couple of traditional Japanese folding screens, posing in the same powerful stance as Fūjin and Raijin, the gods of wind and thunder. Now, they’re making another appearance in god-like form, but this time they’ll be immortalised in a yukiyo-e woodblock print and available to the public for purchase, thanks to a Kyoto-based artist specialising in the traditional art technique.
▼ The art is based on a National Treasure dating back to the 17th century, Fūjin-raijin-zu, by Tawaraya Sōtatsu, showing Raijin on the left and Fūjin on the right.
In the new woodblock print, Luigi takes on the role of Fūjin, one of the eldest Shinto gods, who is traditionally portrayed as a red-haired demon with green skin. Luigi keeps his shoes on for the role and looks a lot less terrifying than the original while carrying a large bag of wind on his shoulders. Spiny-slinging Lakitu and “killer” Bullet Bill also make an appearance in the background.
Mario, as the god of lightning, thunder and storms, holds a drumstick in each hand and is surrounded by a ring of stars rather than the usual drums on which to create thunder. This means Mario will be hitting stars, creating a storm that sounds like high-pitched twinkles.
While the images are beautiful and humorous at the same time, there’s actually a skilled craftsman behind the project, using traditional centuries-old printing techniques to create the final image, which is limited to a run of 90 prints in total.
The end result is a beautiful framed picture priced at 194,400 yen (US$1,734.40). Instead of using traditional Japanese paper known as washi, a layer of gold leaf is used, making this one expensive yet beautiful piece of art.