Twelve Months: May

Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai 河鍋暁斎 (1831-1889)
Historical period(s)
Meiji era, 1887
Ink and color on paper
H x W (triptych): 37.3 x 77.1 cm (14 11/16 x 30 3/8 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, Buddhism, demon, Japan, Meiji era (1868 - 1912), oban, rain, tiger, triptych, Zhong Kui
Provenance research underway.

Astride a tiger, the demon-queller Shoki (Chinese, Zhong Kui) pursues a band of unlucky demons. The title of this print indicates that it might have been intended as one design for a series of twelve triptychs-one for each of the twelve months. Shoki is an appropriate image for May, when the Boys' Festival is held. The inscription repeats the title in English, which was occasionally incorporated into Japanese prints beginning in the 1860s, when consciousness of the world outside Japan, stimulated by the opening of the treaty port of Yokohama near Edo (the center of the publishing industry) made the inclusion of foreign words intriguing to both Japanese and foreign purchasers.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 104, pp. 262-263.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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