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

(Ningen banji a-fu-mi hakkei, 人間萬事愛婦美八景)

Publisher: Yamaguchi-ya Tôbei

1849

 

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: (駄花鳥茶 屋の夕照,

Da kachôjaya no sekishô)

Trigram: Tui ()

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

Title: Shichiuke no kihan

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

Title: Rôsoku no yoru no ame

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.

Title: Kanshaku no seiran

Trigram: Sun ()

Description: Standing beauty

 

 

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

Trigram: Kan ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) making tea

Title: Miharashi no rakugan

Trigram: Ken ()

Description: Beautiful woman (bijin) holding a lacquered box

Title: Twilight Snowfall at Suiwata (Suiwata 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.

In this print, the design on the kimono is no longer present.

 

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.

 

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