2021 Year of the Ox

The Chinese calendar -which existed there already since around 2000 BC- was adopted by Japan from around the 6th century AD, together with Buddhism.

The ivory netsuke chosen to represent 2021 is a magnificently carved cow, 7.5 cm long, 45 grams, with her calf, the latter licking the mother’s muzzle, the long rope falling over the parent’s back, the ivory exquisitely patinated, both eyes inlaid in some dark material, probably horn signed Tomotada (Kyoto-school), mid 18th century.

The Zodiac has an influence on the character of mankind. Each of the 12 ‘animals’ has specific characteristics. Persons born in the year of the Ox [cow] (ushi) are said to be born leaders and inspire confidence all around. Oxen tend to be conservative, methodical and good with their hands. They guard against being chauvinistic and always demand their own way. Oxen make successful surgeons, generals and hairdressers. Some oxen were: Napoleon, Walt Disney, Clark Gable, Richard Nixon, Sylvia Porter and Vincent Van Gogh, just to name a few.

During the last century, years of the Ox were in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997 and 2009. In each 60 year cycle, the 12 zodiac animals are repeated 5 times, representing 5 elements Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.

Of course it is not that simple; 60 is merely the most common denominator of 10 x 12, the ten being the 5 elements but in order to make it ten, the Japanese have adopted a big (elder) brother and small (younger) brother of each of the five stated elements. In all eastern languages, big brother and younger brother is one noun each, and not formed by a noun (brother) plus an adjective (younger or bigger [elder]) like in western languages.

As the second animal in the Eastern zodiac, the Ox indicates the hours between 1 am and 3 am.

Best wishes to all for a splendid Year of the Ox, 2021!


The entire Bosshard clan wishes you a wonderful 2020/21 Holiday Season with lots of fun, happiness, good health and some great relaxation or even a vacation with friends and family, leading into a beautiful spring and great summer season, too.


By the way, if you would like to read the contents of all the pages in smaller or bigger characters, it is very simple: go to View, Text size and choose your preferred size. That is all it takes – try it!

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