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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Dragons Climbing Mount Fuji (Fuji koshi no tatsu) and Snakes Disturbed by a Blind Man (Mekura ni komaru mi), from the series Comical Twelve Signs of the Zodiac (Dôke jûnishi)

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Both jokes refer to proverbial expressons. Storm clouds around the slopes of Mount Fuji were called "dragons climbing the mountain." A blind man is not afraid of snakes, since he cannot see them. Kuniyoshi illustrates both expressions literally.


Ichiyûsai Kuniyoshi ga (on each design) 一勇斎国芳画


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850 - d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: August 3, 1911) NOTES: [1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection

Japanese, Edo period, about 1841 (Tenpô 12)

Catalogue Raisonné

Inagaki and Isao, Kuniyoshi no kyôga (1991), #16


Two vertical chûban designs on uncut horizontal ôban sheet; 35.4 x 23.9 cm (13 15/16 x 9 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper