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Yoshu Chikanobu (aka Chikanobu), Japanese, (1838–1912)
Parody of the 12 Zodiac Animals: Snake, Shinobazu Benzaiten, 1894, no day or month indicated
Ink on Paper
9 1/16 in. x 13 3/4 in. (23 cm x 35 cm)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Purchased with funds from the Aoki Endowment for Japanese Arts and Cultures
Accession Number: 2005.1.49

Alternate Title: Mitate junishi: Hebi: Shinobazu Benzaiten

Currently bound together with other 11 prints in the series in folding album.

Signed: “Yoshu Chikanobu” with En’unjo

Colored ink on paper, sheets assembled in folding album format, red silk on the covers, woodblock prints.

Object Description
A woman leans lightly forward to play a koto. While she appears to be inside, backed by a folding screen and seated near a paper lantern that glows softly, the inset shows blossoming cherry trees around Shinobazu Pond at Ueno, with its shrine to the Buddhist deity Benzaiten. Snakes are associated with this goddess of music, eloquence, longevity and beauty, and with sexual passion. Images of Benzaiten often include a large white snake. The signature on this secondary image seems to indicate that the artist En'un is a woman.

For more information, please refer to the Chikanobu exhibition catalogue.

Morimoto Junzaburo

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