Incidents of Everyday Life for the Eight Views and the Eight Trigrams

(Ningen banji a-fu-mi hakkei, 人間万事愛婦美八卦意)

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei



The eight trigrams are ancient Chinese symbols used in divination.  According to legend, Emperor Fu Hsi (24th century BCE) discovered them inscribed on the back of a tortoise.  The sixty-four hexagrams, which each constitute a unique vertical pair of trigrams, are dealt with extensively in the book I Ching.  In this series, full length portraits of bijin (beautiful women) are matched with each of the eight trigrams.  Each print also suggests one of the eight views from classical Chinese painting–autumn moon, lingering snow, evening glow, vesper bells, returning boats, clearing weather, night rain and homing geese.  This series of prints is listed as number 108 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.


Title: Kenzake no banshô

Trigram: Chien ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) dancing


Another state of the above design

Title: Da kachôjaya no sekishô, 駄花鳥茶 屋の夕照)

Trigram: Tui ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) and her young son admiring the exotic emu

Title: Returning Sails of Redeeming a Pawned Possession (Shichiuke no kihan, 質請の帰帆)

Trigram: Li ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) kneeling by a brazier


This is a twentieth century reproduction of the above print.  Since it was printed from newly carved woodblocks, it inevitably varies slightly from the original.  The most obvious difference is in the top of the subject’s right wrist and hand, which has a slight convexity on the original.


Image and description courtesy of Theo de Kreijger

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Title: Night Rain of the Candle (Rôsoku no yoru no ame, 蝋燭の夜の雨)

Trigram: Chen ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) lighting a candle.  This print alludes to night rain in the eight views


I am grateful to Alan Elliott for this image.

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Title: Clearing Weather after a Temper Tantrum (Kanshaku no seiran, 癇積の晴嵐)

Trigram: Sun ()

Description: Standing beauty


I am grateful to Philippe Catel for this image.



A painting of a person

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Another state of the above design

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Title: Sumashi no aki no tsuki (すましの秋の月)

Trigram: Kan ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) making tea


I am grateful to Philippe Catel for this image.

Title: Descending Geese in a Fine View (Miharashi no rakugan, 見晴の落雁)

Trigram: Ken ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) holding a lacquered box

Title: Twilight Snow of Cotton Bolls (Fukiwata no bosetsu, 吹綿の暮雪)

Trigram: Kun ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) standing




Another example of the above design.  The fine white design (mon) on the right shoulder and left sleeve of the kimono above is dark in this print, indicating a later printing from a woodblock in which these fine incised designs have been filled with ink from repeated use.


The flag of the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has a red and blue yin-yang symbol in the center with four trigrams in the corners.  Like the yin-yang symbol, the trigrams indicate balance and the duality of opposites.  The top left trigram symbolizes summer, south, and heaven.  The top right trigram represents autumn, west, and the moon.  The bottom right trigram stands for winter, north, and the Earth.  The bottom left trigram represents spring, east, and the sun.