Hence, Jingoro may have been the first known artist to display the images of the three monkeys and with a date certain, but please read on.,his wife and I visited Japan on monkey business. We thought it unusual for a Japanese author to suggest the origin of the three monkeys was not Japanese. Inside the entrance is a prominent large wooden panel depicting seven monkeys.
It is believed the seven monkeys are a tribute to Ganzan Daishi (aka Ryougen), a very popular Tendai Buddhist sage (912-985) and author of Song of Sannou.
Mahatma is know to have had few material possessions; he had a tin cup and spoon, a pair of sandals, his glasses and a set of no evil monkeys!
It is possible the three monkeys featured in panels at Toshogu Shrine originated 8 centuries earlier. Iida believes there are many indications the three monkeys predate their appearance in Japan.
Ancient urban civilizations have come and gone and unfortunately there are few monkey artifacts available in museums. Iida has assembled drawings and photos of the monkeys from civilizations that flourished before the Christian era: in central Africa the Ashanti in Ghana, 3,000 BCE, Benin, and Togo; Ancient Egypt in the north and el Amarna,1350 BCE; the island of Cyprus dating back 9,000 BCE; Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilizations; the Indus Valley and of course China and India and the Indo China peninsula that lies between them.
Professor Archer Taylor (1890-1973), a folklorist, writes about a Roman proverb.
He traced it's early origins to a sermon in Paris about 1300 AD and to Gesta Romanorum, a Latin collection of folklore and legends in the late 14th century.
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Koshin worship spread in Japan during the 10th and 11th centuries and flourished until 1868.
Late in the Muromachi period 1338-1573 it became customary for the three monkeys to appear on stone pillars in Japan We collectors are the most familiar with the Toshogu Shrine, built in the early 17th century, in Nikko, Japan.
The most famous and most photographed is panel two our three no evil monkeys.