Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Monkey (Saru - 申): The Nobleman's Son Ushiwakamaru (Onzōshi Ushiwakamaru) from the series Japanese Heroes for the Twelve Signs (Eiyū Yamato jūnishi - 英雄大倭十二支)

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Dates: created,1854
Dimensions: 10.0 in,14.5 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: color woodblock

Signed: Chōōrō Kuniyoshi ga
Aritist's seal: kiri in red
Publisher: Mikawaya Kihei
(Marks 326 - seal 12-047)
Date seal: 1854, 7th month intercalary
Censor's seal: aratame

Related links: British Museum; Lyon Collection - another print from this series: the Hare;

Physical description:

Ushiwakamaru is practicing his martial skills which he learned from the tengu on Mt. Kuruma. Leaping high in the air, out of reach of the belligerent simians, Ushiwakamaru grasps a tree limb with his left hand while brandishing his closed fan in his right.

Note how the monkeys are using tree branches as weapons of their own. This reminds us of that seminal moment is Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey when one of our primordial ancestors discovered tools/weapons.

Reference: B. W. Robinson, Kuniyoshi-The Warrior Prints, London, 1982, no. S84.

Even though the British Museum says that the publisher is Mitaya Kihachi, the mark on their copy is that of Mikawaya Kihei.