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Jigsaw puzzles from Japan

Art with words

Contemporary art with calligraphy

The Japanese tradition of calligraphy as art means that no clear line is drawn between "Art" and "Inscription", allowing a free display of a synthesis that defies simplistic Western classification. These artists all employ contemporary painting styles, yet preserve the feel of a now-gone era.

Note: The translations of titles are mine.

Seven lucky gods
© Ishikawa Mari

1000: Seven lucky gods

The main caption (満願七福神 man-gan-shichi-fuku-jin) means literally "All wishes (come true) seven lucky gods", and they are all listed with their specialities: long life, riches, health, and so on. As always, they arrive in the treasure boat...

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: A10639 (1000-639 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$26.32 €25.21 £21.43)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$10.53 €10.08 £8.57)
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Zodiac Buddhas
© Ishikawa Mari

1000: Zodiac Buddhas

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$26.32 €25.21 £21.43)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$10.53 €10.08 £8.57)
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Prince Shōtoku
© Omori Shuka

1000: Prince Shōtoku

A historical character, dating back to the sixth century, Shōtoku is surely best known, at least to newcomers to Japan, for appearing on the 10,000-yen note. Here he stands in splendid isolation, holding his shaku or ritual baton, and also wearing a sword. He is surrounded by plants and other auspicious objects, including the pagoda of Hōryū-ji, a temple he is said to have founded. He was very impressed by Chinese Buddhism, had a large influence in creating a constitution based on law — the writing at the top (in Chinese) begins with his famous maxim "Value peace above all" (以和為貴).

No biographical details for the artist Omori Shuka (properly Ōmori Shūka), a traditional craft-artist who signs his work with his brush-name Shuka and a seal of the same.

In stock
An Appleone puzzle: 1000 pieces; 50 x 75 cm (20" x 30")
Code: A10693 (1000-693 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$26.32 €25.21 £21.43)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$10.53 €10.08 £8.57)
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Hometown Jizo
© Kuroiwa Toyotaka

1000: Hometown Jizo

The six Jizo figures in an idyllic country scene...

Kiyorakana kawa / sumiwataru sora / Arigatou / furusato
Limpid stream and clear sky... Thank you, my hometown

The artist was born in Nagano in 1947, and specialises in Buddhist themes, with a distinctive whimsically warm style. (Kuroiwa is his family name - he signs his pictures with a stylised seal of his given name, Toyotaka.)

* The picture on the box has a number of "mistakes", slight differences from the puzzle.

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E59005 (59-005 on box)
Retail price ¥3900 (approx. US$34.21 €32.77 £27.86)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$10.53 €10.08 £8.57)
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Jizo reminiscence
© Kuroiwa Toyotaka

1000: Jizo reminiscence

The countryside in spring — brilliant yellow rapeseed flowers contrasting with the palest cherry blossom, and the six Jizo figures in the foreground. The haiku reads...

Kaeri-michi / na-no-hana-batake to / tooi sora
The homeward way, yellow rapeseed flowers, and distant sky

The artist was born in Nagano in 1947, and specialises in Buddhist themes, with a distinctive whimsically warm style. (Kuroiwa is his family name - he signs his pictures with a stylised seal of his given name, Toyotaka.)

In stock
An Epoch puzzle: 1000 pieces; 75 x 50 cm (30" x 20")
Code: E11397 (11-397 on box)
Retail price ¥3000 (approx. US$26.32 €25.21 £21.43)
Shipping from ¥1200 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$10.53 €10.08 £8.57)
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Year of the horse
© Youseki Miki

300: Year of the horse

Nine jolly horses, some with riders, one from the nursery, gallop past Mount Fuji. There have to be nine, because this makes everything uma- (horse) ku (nine) iku (go), that is "go well".

Born in Kyushu in 1966, Youseki Miki studied calligraphy, and after graduating from university embarked on a career as a commercial designer. He has developed a distinctive style of illustrated calligraphy with a contemporary, jovial touch. He writes his adopted brush name Youseki with nonstandard romanisation, to be read as the English word "you" plus "seki". (Miki is his family name, and his real name is Izuru.)

In stock
A Beverly puzzle: 300 pieces; 38 x 26 cm (15" x 10")
Code: B63263 (63-263 on box)
Retail price ¥1400 (approx. US$12.28 €11.76 £10.00)
Shipping from ¥600 (N. America, Europe, Australasia: approx. US$5.26 €5.04 £4.29)
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