PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT Toshidama’s blog, THE ORIGINAL BLOGGER’S POSTS. They were kind enough to let me share this wonderful article with you.
The subject of the Japanese (Chinese) zodiac would take many hundreds of pages accurately to describe. It is a complex system of Buddhist symbolism, planetary observation and Imperial obeisance.
The Japanese Zodiac and calendar were introduced from China in the sixth century. The Imperial court invited the priest Kudara to teach them how to draw up a calendar and with it the associated astronomical detail. In traditional Japanese culture, astronomy, astrology and the calendar are inextricably joined. This did not change significantly until 1876, after the modernisation of Japan and the establishment of the Meiji government. The subject is relevant to the study of Japanese prints for a variety of reasons. Dating of prints can be done through research into an artist’s work in reference libraries or more commonly by looking at the date seals which always appear on ukiyo prints right up until 1876. All…
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