Decided to do another 30 (insert topic here) challenge, this time it's the monster girl challenge, and rather than do one a day I'm taking my time with this one so they'll pop up a bit sporadically.
This is Tsuchigumo or Jorogumo, meaning "the binding bride" or "spider woman" If you write the kanji for the later incorrectly it changes the meaning to "spider whore", though this term seems inaccurate as I didn't find any stories of them acting like prostitutes.
A Tsuchigumo is described as being a spider that has lived long enough to gain magical powers. Using said powers it can disguise it's true form as that of a human, All the stories seem to indicate that they all turn themselves into lovely women, suggesting that much like the kitsune the "woman" you see can actually be a male or female creature.
The standard it seems for the Tsuchigumo is that once they have disguised themselves as a woman they will find a semi secluded place and wait for a human (usually male) to show up. The tails vary; some resounding the Tsuchigumo asking individuals to marry them (with often disastrous results) or ask someone to care for their baby which is later discovered to be the spider's egg sack. There are also stories of men falling in love with the Tsuchigumo and slowly die as she drains his life away every time he goes to see her.
The most common however seems to be that the Tsuchigumo will find a safe place to wait and lure a an to sit with her as she plays her Biwa, a Japanese instrument. It is said her playing is so beautiful that the man doesn't notice he's being cocooned until it's too late. Soon after the Tsuchigumo devours it's victim or feeds them to it's young.
There is however another aspect to the Tsuchigumo, a legend tells of a man who was down by a waterfall in Kashikobuch (meaning "clever abyss") and managed to escape the web trap the Tsuchigumo had laid by wrapping it around a stump. After she tore the stump out of the ground and into the water he fled, but as he ran he heard her voice call out, "How clever, how clever!". It seems she was so impressed by his escape and decided to reward humans as a whole; as she is now worshiped there as a a goddess who protects the residence from drowning. There is still a shrine standing there in her honor.
Though most Tsuchigumo hide their true spider body it seems this one has been kind enough to show off her extra bedecked limbs to us. And if one looks carefully you can see her young peeking out from their shelter beneath her kimono.
Interesting fact: Spiders are 10 limbed animals, they have 8 legs for motion and a set of smaller limbs up front that they use like hands (and on occasion extra legs) which makes my Tsuchigumo a 12 limbed creature (with the extra human arms up top.)
Other Monster Girls:
Next coming soon
Tsuchigumo © Alexandra Schoell (Chaos Child)
Special Brushes © obsidiandawn