The works of Sakubei Yamamoto
Transport (outside the mine), Coal Sorting

Pony Killer
1964 - 1967

[Pony Killer]
38.2 x 54.4 cm Painting in Watercolors and Ink

Text at the Top Right
In the Meiji era (1868-1912), umakoroshi (pony killer: coaly shale which was mistaken for and heavier than coal) did harm not only to ponies who carried it but also to miners. Its fragments often flew violently and hurt sakiyamas' (hewers') eyes when they swung their pickaxes down on it. They were especially cruel when the tips of pickaxes were dull.

Text at the Bottom Left
The reason why this coaly shale was called "pony killer" was that it tormented ponies who often carried it though it did not really kill them. Though it was coaly, it weighed as heavily as rock debris (bota). It was gluey and had a dull luster as well as very low calorific value. Seams of it about 10 centimeters thick lay on the top of the shakunashi-so coal bed [thin series of coal and rock layers about 50 centimeters thick].

Lyrics of "Gotton Bushi" Song on the Right of the Above Text
Koma mo ichido wa namida o nagasu.
Amari tatakuna umakata-san yo. Dokkoi! Dokkoi!

Even a pony sheds tears at least once in its life.
Don't whip so hard, Mr. Stableman. Dokkoi! Dokkoi! (Interjected chants)

Lettering on the Talisman Attached to the Beam of the Frame of Pit Mouth
Oyamatsumi-no-mikoto: Great Mountain God

Word above the Text at the Bottom Left
tanukibori tan: coal mined by a primitive mining method called tanukibori (raccoon dog mining) or badger hole method of mining [in which only coal near the surface was mined by driving short roadways without a lot of supports]

Translation Assisted by Mr. Nathan Johndro

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