Tigers and the Snake-eye Sushi Sign (Janome-zushi no tora) and Hares' Dumpling Shop (Usagi no dangoya), from the series Comical Twelve Signs of the Zodiac (Dôke jûnishi)

Japanese
Edo period
about 1841 (Tenpô 12)
Artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Japanese, 1797–1861), Publisher Edoya Matsugorô (Japanese)


Catalogue Raisonné

Inagaki and Isao, Kuniyoshi no kyôga (1991), #15

Dimensions

Two vertical chûban designs on uncut horizontal ôban sheet; 24.3 x 35.5 cm (9 9/16 x 14 in.)

Accession Number

11.16571

Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

Not On View

Collections

Asia, Prints and Drawings

Classifications

Prints

The tigers are frightened by the snake-eye trademark of the sushi shop because it resembles the family crest of the historical samurai Katô Kiyomasa (generally called “Masakiyo” or sometimes “Watônai” in prints) who was said to have killed a tiger (an animal not found in Japan) during the Japanese invasion of Korea in the 1590s. Hares are associated with the full moon, and the round dumplings are moon-shaped.

Signed

Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga (on each design)

一勇斎国芳画

Markings

No censor's seal

Provenance

By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911)

NOTES:
[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection