The above painting is by Shigeru Aoki (1882-1911), a Japanese painter of fantastic scenes who sadly died before the age of 30 from tuberculosis. Aoki is known for using impressionist and western religious painting techniques and applying them to Japanese myths. Aoki was of samurai lineage, and some of his paintings have been named important Japanese cultural properties.
Many of Shigeru’s paintings, with titles such as ‘Path to the Underworld’ and ‘Paradise under the Sea,’ are great inspirations for fantasy gaming. Look at ‘Bounty from the Sea’ again. Could it depict a group of Tanaroan tribesmen from the Isle of Dread returning with their catch to feed the village? Or perhaps a band of sea-elves bringing in shark heads as bounties to the fishermen who pay to keep their fishing grounds, traps and nets free from such predators?