Calendar print of the magic mallet (uchide no kozuchi) of Daikoku, one of the Seven Lucky Gods, decorated with auspicious symbols of a crane and tortoise, with two white rats, and jewels showing the short and long months for 1840 (Tempō 11). Signed Shinkei.
This print depicts the “mallet of fortune,” uchide no kozuchi, of Daikokuten, one of the Seven Lucky Gods. Considered the god of wealth, Daikokuten is often portrayed seated on bales of rice with rats nearby, signifying plentiful food. The mallet has a design of a crane and a tortoise, two auspicious symbols of the new year that signify longevity. The lunar-solar calendar used in pre-modern Japan was under official control and restricted to publishers with an official license. Privately printed picture-calendars, called egoyomi, gave information for long and short months cunningly concealed within the composition of the print, not only avoiding censorship but making a game out of deciphering the hidden signs. The numbered jewels indicate the sequence of long and short months, which align with the monthly sequence for 1840, the Year of the Rat. The larger jewels indicate long months 1, 2 ,6, 8, 10, 11, 12; the smaller jewels indicate short months 3, 4, 5, 7, 9.
signatures; animals; jewelry
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