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Traditional painting themes

Some traditional themes - there is much overlap with the "Lucky!" page, as these are invariably chosen to be auspicious. Mount Fuji is an obvious topic - it's a handsome mountain, and is invariably shown in red, a depiction of a phenomenon said to occur once a year or less, in which the whole mountain glows pink at dawn. Then we have the gamut of nature represented by various plants and animals.

On this page: Red Mt Fuji - Flowers and birds - Carp - Buddhist figures

Red Mt Fuji

Seven lucky gods and the zodiac animals
© Ryutei

1053: Seven lucky gods and the zodiac animals (Ryutei)

The seven gods of good fortune sit surrounded not only by the usual collection of treasure, but also by a large dragon and all the other Chinese zodiac animals, with a red Fuji in the background for good measure.

Ryutei is almost certainly a brushname, but absolutely no other details of the artist are available...

* This puzzle has TINY pieces!

In stock
An Apollo puzzle: 1053 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: P47702 (47-702 on box)
Retail price ¥2000 (approx. US$18.52 €16.53 £14.39)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.56 €4.96 £4.32)
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Seven gods and seven wishes
© Ukai Yuhei

1000: Seven gods and seven wishes (Yuhei)

The seven gods gather in a group with all the usual lucky emblems around them — red Mt Fuji, cranes, turtles, and so on. The rather jolly two in front are Daikokuten and Ebisu, who are somehow producing money by pounding the glutinous mochi rice which is traditionally always prepared this way.

No biographical information is to be found on the artist Ukai Yuhei, another of the craft producers of traditional images particularly for kakemono scrolls. He signs his work the traditional way, with his given name Yuhei, and a seal of the same.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10679 (1000-679 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Red Fuji and cranes
© Beverly
Position map

1000: Red Fuji and cranes (Toko)

A simple, but classic composition, with Mount Fuji in its auspicious colouring — occasionally at dawn in late summer the whole mountain seen from the East can appear red, and this has been taken as a good omen. In the foreground more good-luck symbolism: a pair of faithful cranes augur domestic harmony, and the evergreen pines promise longevity.

This traditional artist's full name seems to be Mashima Tōkō (真島東紅), and he signs paintings with his given name Tōkō, which is surely a brush name, meaning "East crimson". No other biographical details can be found.

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 1000 pieces; 72 x 49 cm (28" x 19")
Code: B61392 (61-392 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Lucky treasure boat
© Hajime Okamoto

1000: Lucky treasure boat (Okamoto)

A very traditional theme: the seven gods arrive in their lucky boat — the big character on the sail means "Treasure". As well as the red Mount Fuji in the background, there are many auspicious symbols waiting for them: the hawk and eggplant, the turtle, the pine, the plum blossom. Okamoto does all this in his inimitable jolly style, and has written a caption:

Lucky, Happy, All smiles, Treasure boat

(This is not standard Japanese, but Kansai dialect.)

Born in Osaka in 1942, Hajime Okamoto is an artist with a distinctive and very jolly style, who specialises in cats — particularly the beckoning bringers of good fortune. As part of a cultural exchange programme, in 1986 he spent time in Jilin, north-east China, studying seal-making and calligraphy.

He signs his paintings with a seal, and a stylised form of his name in Roman letters (with his family name last).

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 1000 pieces; 72 x 49 cm (28" x 19")
Code: B61408 (61-408 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1100 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$10.19 €9.09 £7.91)
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Akafuji
© Epoch

420: Fuji with cranes

Traditional style applied to classic elements: the cranes fly past Mt Fuji, while peonies, pine and plum blossom decorate the foreground. No artist is named, but many of these paintings are produced by craft workshops, rather than individual artists.

* This puzzle has smaller pieces than the standard size.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 420 pieces; 52 x 18 cm (20" x 7")
Code: E52153 (52-153 on box)
Retail price ¥1800 (approx. US$16.67 €14.88 £12.95)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.56 €4.96 £4.32)
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Fuji, hawk, and eggplant
© Beverly

300: Fuji, hawk, and eggplant

The most auspicious dream with which to start the year is said to be of these three items, listed as "1: Fuji, 2: Hawk, 3: Nasubi", the last being the eggplant or aubergine. A classic traditional composition...

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 300 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: B63267 (63-267 on box)
Retail price ¥1400 (approx. US$12.96 €11.57 £10.07)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.56 €4.96 £4.32)
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Flowers and birds

The auspicious crane, the showy peacock, the humble chicken - this common style portrays birds surrounded by suggestions of their natural habitat...

The bird of good omen
©

2000: The bird of good omen

A gorgeous historical screen painting from the Kanō school (late Edo period, 18th or 19th century): a number of birds parade in surroundings of peonies and plum blossoms, with a backdrop of rather abstract mountain scenery.

This will not be an easy puzzle, given the considerable area of golden brown background, but it will surely be interestingly different.

Detail

Wikipedia article on the Kanō school

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A Road puzzle: 2000 pieces; 102 x 73 cm (40" x 29")
Code: RS2014 (RS-20-14 on box)
Retail price ¥5000 (approx. US$46.30 €41.32 £35.97)
Shipping from ¥2050 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$18.98 €16.94 £14.75)
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The bird of good omen
©

1000: The bird of good omen

A gorgeous historical screen painting from the Kanō school (late Edo period, 18th or 19th century): a number of birds parade in surroundings of peonies and plum blossoms, with a backdrop of rather abstract mountain scenery.

This will not be an easy puzzle, given the considerable area of golden brown background, but it will surely be interestingly different.

Detail

Wikipedia article on the Kanō school

In stock
A Road puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: RS11140 (RS-11-140 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Flower profusion
© Yoda Sasuga

1000: Flower profusion (Sasuga)

A classic composition of all the auspicious flowers you can think of, with a pair of faithful mandarin ducks, lucky white sparrows, and Mount Fuji in red to complete the set.

Few biographical details are available, but the artist fell in love with traditional Japanese painting at Tama Art University, and has been specialising in the birds-and-flowers and similar traditional themes ever since.

He signs and seals with his brush name Sasuga, which is written with the characters 'Flowing stone'.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10668 (1000-668 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Peacock legend
© Takeuchi Hakuga

1000: Peacock legend (Hakuga)

A total of three birds display their plumage in a florid setting. The peacock has been revered since ancient days in India, for its usefulness in eating poisonous snakes.

The artist was born in 1948, in Niigata. After working for a textile company, he went independent as a textile designer. He has his own individual drawing style, bringing a fresh approach to many traditional art themes.

He goes by his given name, Hakuga, in the traditional way, signing his paintings in a stylised, but non-cursive form.

In stock
A Road puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: RS11268 (RS-11-268 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Cherry blossom owl
© Harai Kayomi / Studio Oz

1000: Cherry blossom owl (Kayomi)

A simple but effective composition: the owl approaches us ready to pounce. The cherry blossom lit only by the full moon has an eerie tone, which will make the puzzle interesting but quite a challenge.

No biographical details available. She signs her given name Kayomi in Roman letters.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E11511 (11-511 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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White phoenix garden
© Hakuga Takeuchi

1000: White phoenix garden (Hakuga)

A pair of white birds display their filigree plumage, amidst flowers representing the four seasons. The bird name hakuhō can be translated as "white phoenix", but its origin is unclear, perhaps from an ancient Chinese mythical bird, but also an unofficial era name around the time of Emperor Kōtoku (c. 650 AD; see the Wikipedia article on era names).

The artist was born in 1948, in Niigata. After working for a textile company, he went independent as a textile designer. He has his own individual drawing style, bringing a fresh approach to many traditional art themes.

He goes by his given name, Hakuga, in the traditional way, signing his paintings in a stylised, but non-cursive form.

Out of stock
More stock expected June 28
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: A10803 (1000-803 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Lucky owls
© Izumi Kazumi

1000: Lucky owls (Kazumi)

A happy family of owls, mother and three chicks. Not only are owls famed for wisdom, but these chicks are a bright golden colour, suggesting they will bring good fortune.

Izumi Kazumi is an animal artist who graduated from Osaka University fine arts department in 1984. Izumi is her family name.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: A10765 (1000-765 on box)
Retail price ¥3600 (approx. US$33.33 €29.75 £25.90)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Crested ibises
© Hakuga Takeuchi

1000: Crested ibises (Hakuga)

These birds are the rare toki, or crested ibis, an iconic species within Japan, which was almost completely eliminated by excessive hunting over the 19th and 20th centuries, until only a small population remained in China. Efforts are now being made to rear chicks for releasing into the wild, and there is now a small colony on Sado Island in the Sea of Japan.

The artist was born in 1948, in Niigata. After working for a textile company, he went independent as a textile designer. He has his own individual drawing style, bringing a fresh approach to many traditional art themes.

He goes by his given name, Hakuga, in the traditional way, signing his paintings in a stylised, but non-cursive form.

Out of stock
More stock expected June 28
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: A10804 (1000-804 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Lucky owls
© Toyama Hiroko

500: Lucky owls (Toyama)

A pair of jolly owls, traditional symbols of wisdom, and good luck. The stylised golden stripes represent clouds, intertwined with cherry blossom, while Mount Fuji and the moon complete the background.

Born in Miyagi, northern Japan in 1984, Toyama Hiroko (Toyama is her family name) specialises in birds and flowers, bringing a modern touch along with many traditional stylisations. Toyama is her family name.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 500 pieces; 53 x 38 cm (21" x 15")
Code: E06075 (06-075 on box)
Retail price ¥2000 (approx. US$18.52 €16.53 £14.39)
Shipping from ¥800 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$7.41 €6.61 £5.76)
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Carp

Five jumping carp
© Seta Koshu

1000: Five jumping carp (Seta)

Five colourful carp are surrounded by other auspicious symbols, from turtles at the bottom to Mount Fuji at the top.

Detail

Few details of the artist Seta Koshu are available: he entered the world of Japanese art through a family pottery business, but his skill with the brush was evident, and he is a skilled producer of kakemono scrolls. Seta is his family name.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10666 (1000-666 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Buddhist figures

The panoply of deities of various ranks from the Buddhist traditions...

Kannon rides the Dragon
© Hojo Yuka / Sankoh

1000: Kannon rides the Dragon

A very matronly Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, stands barefoot amidships on a rather nice dragon. In her left hand she holds a flower (perhaps a lotus flower), while the dragon similarly clutches the symbolic Chintamani Stone (or "treasure ball").

This is a standard pose for Kannon, and this version is subdued in tone yet full of details. The image also includes a complete sutra for the elimination of disasters — this is essentially in Sanskrit transliterated into ancient Chinese, so a typical Japanese reader can make no more meaning of it than you can. Although Kannon is often known as "Goddess of Mercy", experts in Buddhism tell us she is really Avalokitêsvara, who was a man...

Out of stock
More stock expected June 28
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10676 (1000-676 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Thirteen Buddhas
© Takeda Koun

1000: Thirteen Buddhas

The thirteen Buddhas are a Japanese grouping of deities, traditionally seen as serving a protecting role. Although they are all quite distinct (their names are listed on the box), many of the portrayals are very similar — but notice each has a different mudra, or gesture.

Wikipedia has a complete list of the Thirteen Buddhas (in the same order as the key on the puzzle box)

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An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10652 (1000-652 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Welcoming twenty-five Bodhisattvas
© Shokan Fujino / Shoboji

1000: Welcoming twenty-five Bodhisattvas

This is a raigō painting, representing a vision of the twenty-five Bodhisattvas arriving on a purple cloud to welcome the faithful into the Buddhist paradise. Traditionally such paintings have been brought to console a person close to death. No artist is named, but we can assume from the copyright claim that this is from the Buddhist painting school of Shokan Fujino, at Shobo Temple in Kyoto.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10755 (1000-755 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Shingon Thirteen Buddhas
© Kayama Ryokusui

1000: Shingon Thirteen Buddhas (Ryokusui)

The thirteen Buddhas are a grouping of deities within the Shingon sect, which is a branch of Tantric or esoteric Buddhism. They are traditionally seen as serving a protecting role, and here they sit on clouds behind who we can presume to be Kūkai, the Japanese monk who founded Shingon. Some hold flowers, swords, and other implements, and many are performing a mudra, or spiritual gesture.

See Wikipedia entries for Shingon Buddhism and the Thirteen Buddhas: this page includes a list of the names in the same order as the key on the puzzle box.

Very little biographical information to be found on the artist Kayama Ryokusui, who specialises in traditional Japanese styles, particularly of kakemono scrolls. Kayama is an ordinary family name, but Ryokusui is almost certainly a "brush name", consisting of two characters which both mean "green".

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10680 (1000-680 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Achala
© Shibuya Sofu

1000: Achala

Achala is one of the Five Wisdom Kings, a bright blue figure with a fierce expression and a background of fire. He is know in Japan as Fudo, which is a translation of the meaning of Achala, "immoveable", symbolised by his seat on a solid rock. Around him is written a sutra in the Siddham script brought from India more than a thousand years ago and now only used in East Asia for Buddhist scriptures.

The subject may be from South Asia, but the painting style is unmistakeably Japanese, the breaking waves in particular strongly reminiscent of Hokusai and the other woodblock artists.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: E11422 (11-422 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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Zodiac Buddhas
© Ishikawa Mari

1000: Zodiac Buddhas (Mari)

The twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac, accompanied by eight Boddhisattvas, all looking very jolly.

Born in 1968, Ishikawa Mari is a successful commercial illustrator. Fond of traditional Japanese styles, she produces work with a combination of calligraphy and art in a very jolly manner. Ishikawa is her family name.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: A10659 (1000-659 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$27.78 €24.79 £21.58)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$11.11 €9.92 £8.63)
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The ten goodnesses

This traditional label encompasses numerology and untranslatable wordplay. For example, "nine horses" can be read as a pun: uma (horse) + ku (nine) = umaku, which means "successfully". But some of the ingredients are standard groupings, like the seven gods of fortune.

Lucky ten goodnesses
© Beverly

300: Lucky ten goodnesses

Tradition has it that the most auspicious dream to start the year features Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant, or aubergine. This starts the list of "ten goodnesses," and (though not apparently compulsory) here there are exactly two hawks and three eggplant fruit to start the sequence. Then we have the four gods, hidden at the cardinal points around the house, five jumping carp, six gourds, seven gods of fortune, the eight-way seeing dragon, nine horses, and Jizo of the ten virtues.

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 300 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: B63266 (63-266 on box)
Retail price ¥1400 (approx. US$12.96 €11.57 £10.07)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.56 €4.96 £4.32)
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More traditional auspicious emblems

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