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Catfish, Monkey, and Gourd

This charming picture was produced in Ōtsu, a town on the Tōkaidō, the major thoroughfare between Kyoto and Edo (modern Tokyo). Popular with travelers and pilgrims, such paintings were sold ready to hang. The subjects, derived from Buddhism, Shinto, Daoism, and Confucianism, are often talismanic depictions of gods and folk heroes who either protect their human charges from calamity or grant wealth and prosperity.

Japanese
Catfish, Monkey, and Gourd
19th century
Ink and color on paper
24 1/16 x 9 3/16 in. (60.1 x 20.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Julian Bobbs, 62.128