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No. 9 Good Parents from the series A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

No. 9 Good Parents from the series

A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil

by Shōsai Ikkei, 1872

IHL Cat. #646

About This Print

Print number 9 九 from the series A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil, consisting of twelve 十二 oban size prints.  Each oban size print consists of two chuban size images, the top image displaying an example of bad behavior and the bottom half displaying good behavior.    It is not unusual for the sheets to have been cut into two chuban size prints. 

In this chuban size print (the bottom half of the oban size sheet, as described above) good parents are bathing their young child, being assisted by four good souls (zendama) dressed in white.  Each zendama's face contains the character ‘zen’ 善 (goodness, virtue.)

As shown below, the top print depicts a household displaying bad behavior, apparently partying when they should be attending to their children.  Five bad souls (akudama) dressed in red and identified by the character 悪 (badness, vice) in the rounds of their faces, assist their bad behavior.  It usually takes more akudama to foster bad behavior than zendama to encourage good behavior.

For the origin of these zendama and akudama figures please see the article on this site titled Representations of Good and Evil: Origins of Zendama and Akudama Figures in Japanese Prints.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description  No. 9 Good Parents
 Series A Didactic Mirror of Good and Evil (Kyokun zen’aku kagami 教訓善悪鏡)
 Artist  Shōsai Ikkei (fl. 1860-late 1870s)
 Signature  Shōsai Ikkei (red cartouche in lower left of print)
 Seal  no artist's seal
 Publication Date
(unread date seal)
Tsutaya Kichizô, (Kôeidô)
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition good - some rubbing to margins
 Genre  ukiyo-e
 Format  chuban but originally issued as the top half of an oban-size sheet. 
 H x W Paper
 7 x 9 1/8 in. (17.8 x 23.2 cm)
 H x W Image
 6 3/8 x 8 5/8 in. (16.2 x 21.9 cm)
 Collections This Print