See No Evil

see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil monkey drawingGreat monkey drawing depicting See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil. This metaphorical illustration dates back to 1887 when it was included in a book on Japanese fairy tales. It was used to illustrate monkeys in grief as part of the tale of how the jellyfish came to lose its shell and forever live in a naked state. The Queen was ill and wanted to eat the liver of a monkey as a cure. The monkey got wind of his pending doom from the jellyfish and tricked the Queen and her retainers to let him return to Earth to retrieve his liver. He, of course, disappeared. The Queen punished the jellyfish by taking away his shell.

Not sure how the illustration truly matches that story but I think it works great to represent the warning to See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil. It also works as a great monkey drawing. You could easily separate the three monkeys into individual drawings and use them any number of ways.

The book mentioned that the illustrator was Ozawa. Unfortunately, there are a number of Japanese artists with that surname and I could not figure out which one drew this monkey drawing. It would seem likely that this drawing is truly in the public domain around the world but depending upon when this artist died, it may not be where you live. But, with a book that was published over 125 years ago, it seems fairly safe to use.

This image is copyright free and in the public domain anywhere that extends copyrights 70 years after death or at least 120 years after publication when the original illustrator is unknown.