The Magnificent Twelve

Japanese Calligraphy and Artwork on the Theme of the Zodiac

By Louise de Blécourt, W.R. van Gulik, Stephen Addiss, Jon de Jong

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The twelve animals of the Zodiac feature prominently in countless East-Asian tales and legends, and have always been an important source of inspiration for Chinese, Korean and Japanese artists. Together with the Five Elements (wood, fire, earth, metal, and water), the twelve animal signs constitute the East-Asian horoscope. They form part of a chronological cycle and, like their Western counterparts, determine the personalities of those born under a certain sign.

The Magnificent Twelve offers a highly accessible introduction to the twelve animals, the stories that surround them, and the character traits that are associated with them, as well as information on the role of the signs within traditional systems of reading years and hours. Naturally, the book also enables you to discover your own sign and its characteristics; relational advice is included.

Professor emeritus Willem van Gulik (Leiden University, the Netherlands) wrote the text, the images were conceived and created by the Dutch graphic artist and art dealer Jon de Jong, and Louise de Blécourt (3rd dan, Nihon Shodō Bijutsu-in) contributed the calligraphy. The introduction was written by the eminent American art historian Stephen Addis.

“It is a great pleasure to see how the Netherlands and Japan found each other in this book, which features Dutch artists giving form to the Japanese tradition of cyclical time reckoning. Japan is often seen as a closed culture, but this book demonstrates that everyone who is prepared to take a genuine interest, is most welcome to take part.”

Menno Fitski, Head of Asian Art, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Hardcover, 2022, 144 pp., 112 ill.

ISBN 978-90-5997-355-8

The Magnificent Twelve

29.50

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