One of the best things about archival searching is discovering something new and unexpected. Last night I was looking for material with an unusual aspect ratio to test out a new template for vertical image scrolling. Ideally it would also be suitable for restoration. Unfortunately most of the material that had the right dimensions wasn't in good enough condition. I had already spent several hours on something that ultimately wasn't very satisfactory. The background had banding issues and the attempt at restoration just didn't yield a satisfactory result. Then came a pleasant discovery.
Thumbnail previews can be deceptive. So when this joined the queue of several downloads, it didn't seem worth the trouble to take notes. Just kept on surfing through Japanese prints. When the file finally opened 240 megabytes later it was breathtaking. Imagine a long slow California exclamation of "Duuude!" Had to save immediately, couldn't remember the real title, so it's Dude.tif on my system. Click the thumbnail for a slightly better view.
Turns out this is Zhong Kui, a vanquisher of demons in Taoist mythology. He's known as Shōki in Japan. This late eighteenth century depiction should be restored and ready for upload soon.