Best Mural Inspired by a Japanese Fairy Tale
The Courtesan-cum-Nine-Tailed Fox in Glover Park
D.C. may love its murals, but the latest, most interesting addition to the city’s open-air art collection has little to do with, say, the Marvin Gaye tribute on New York Avenue NE, Mama Ayesha’s presidential line-up on Calvert Street NW, or the giant head of Duke Ellington overlooking U Street NW. Head up Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park and you’ll see a mural of a Japanese courtesan transforming into a nine-tailed red fox. Adorning the southern wall of Sushi Ko, it’s inspired by the Japanese fairytale of Tamamo-no-Mae—an unbelievably beautiful, super-intelligent handmaiden to Emperor Konoe (1142-1155) who turned out to be a demon hell-bent on taking over the throne. The 25-by-60-foot piece depicts the moment when Tamamo-no-Mae’s identity is revealed, and she turns into a fox to flee the emperor’s wrath. Artist Zachary Velazquez’s colorful, arresting piece evokes ink drawings and Japanese woodprints; luckily for Glover Park families, it also omits the legend’s gory parts.