Comic Twelve Signs

(Dke j-ni-shi, 道外十二支)

Publisher: Ki-ya Sjir

1855

 

The 12 signs of the Japanese and Chinese zodiacs are rat (nezumi), ox (ushi), tiger (tora), rabbit (usagi), dragon (tatsu), snake (hebi), horse (uma), sheep (hitsuji), monkey (saru), rooster (tori), dog (inu), and boar (inoshishi). This series is not listed in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961). The images are each about 7 by 10 inches (18 by 25 centimeters), a size known as chban. Two images were printed on a sheet of paper about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ban. I am grateful to Robert Pryor for assisting with this series.

 

Top: Rats (Ne, ) at a festival with a picture of Daikokuten on the wall

Bottom: Ox (Ushi, ), old ladies following an ox on a visit to a temple

A simplified version of the above design

Top: Tiger (Tora, ) falling down

Bottom: Hares (U, ) dancing

Another state of tiger falling down

Top: Dragons (Tatsu, ) squirting each other with water

Bottom: Snakes (Mi, ) watching people crawl across a log bridge like snakes

Top: Horses (Uma, ) resting

Bottom: Goats (Hitsuji, ) dining in a restaurant (rykan)

Another state of the above design

Top: Monkeys (Saru, ) as musicians and a dancer at the Sanno Festival (山王まつり)

Bottom: Cocks (Tori, ) at the Tori no Machi Festival (とりのまち)

Another state of the above design

Top: Dogs (Inu, ) playing in the snow

Bottom: Boars (I, ) stealing potatoes from a man with a stick

 

I am grateful to Michael OClair for this image.

Another state of the above design

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