Tsuba with One Hundred Monkeys

Walters Art Museum

About the work

curationist logo

Edo-era artist Noda Mitsuhiro II crafted most of this silver tsuba to look like interlocking monkeys. He frequently created works riffing on the “100 monkeys” theme. Monkeys are common protagonists in Japanese stories. As characters, they can be either heroic or evil, mischievous or noble. The Japanese character for “monkey” refers to fate or luck, and 100 is a round number representing abundance. The 100 monkeys theme thus may invoke good fortune or long life. The monkeys in this tsuba invoke the full range of personality traits ascribed to the animals in stories. On the top half of the tsuba, three monkeys cover their eyes, ears, and mouth, representing “see no evil,” “hear no evil,” and “speak no evil.” Another monkey holds a large peach, a common motif. On the bottom, two monkeys wrestle with a rope tied around their necks.

Save this work.

Start an account to add this work to your personal curated collection.

masonry card

Work details

Help us improve the metadata.

Is something is missing?

We're just getting started!

Sign Up to receive updates.

Curationist connects people to cultural knowledge from all over the world.