Legendary British heavy metal band Iron Maiden hardly need an introduction, and are definitely no strangers when it comes to inspired artwork. After all, with their epic album covers featuring their lovably sinister mascot, Eddie, they've had artwork just as hard hitting as their music. Now we're getting a chance to see Eddie, who has been everything from a cyborg to an Egyptian mummy, in a way we never imagined seeing him before with Iron Maiden inspired traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e artwork.


Source: Atpress

Ukiyo-e is a form of traditional Japanese art that dates back to the 1600's made from colored woodblock prints. They often depict characters and scenes emblematic of what has come to be traditional Japanese culture, such as kabuki, sumo, and folklore. As an art form it has been neglected in modern times, and so UKIYO-E PROJECT was founded by Yuka Mitsui, CEO of Mitsui Agency International to help reignite interest in the art form among the current generation by working together with famous artists and pop stars. You may remember that in the past the project has featured these badass KISS ukiyo-e prints. Now UKIYO-E PROJECT is turning the spotlight to Iron Maiden, and the attention to detail is masterfully carried out.


Source: Atpress

The print features the trademark Eddie, only this time the skeleton has been transported to Japan's Edo period as a Japanese yokai. The title of the piece if "Jigoku Dayu Jitsu Wa Eddie" (地獄太夫実ハ壊泥, Eddie is actually the hell courtesan)."Jigoku Dayu" translates to "Hell Courtesan" and is a reference to a Japanese folktale about a cruel and arrogant courtesan who, upon her death, is sentenced by the King of Hell to look upon her black heart and wear a kimono made from the souls of those tortured in hell to remind her of her cruelty. If that's not metal enough for you, I don't know what is!


Source: Atpress

Pictured in the bottom right hand corner is the iron maiden torture device, from which the band takes their name. Inscribed within the barbaric chamber is a set of kanji that can be phonetically read as "Iron Maiden," but means "legends that chornicle corrupted deeds."


Source: Atpress

At this time, the prints are available for pre-order at Ukiyo-e Project's online store, where the limited number of 300 prints sell for 108,000 yen ($984.70 USD). There is an English option available at the store, but it appears that it has not yet been applied to the order form for this particular piece.

The piece has a conceptual background of a young man visiting the red-light district of Yoshiwara to see a popular courtesan, only to find out that behind the mask is the depraved demon, Eddie! While we imagine that in terms of the story, this wasn't a pleasant outcome, we can't help but be happy to see the skull-faced mascot sporting a new look.

If you're interested in seeing the artistic process behind these prints, here is a clip that looks back at their KISS collaboration.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.