JAPANESE PRINTS

A MILLION QUESTIONS

TWO MILLION MYSTERIES

 

Ukiyo-e Prints

浮世絵版画

Port Townsend, Washington

 

 

UTAGAWA KUNIYOSHI

国芳

うたがわくによし

1797-1861

Subject of Entire Triptych:

Fuwa Banzaemon Trying to Frighten Nagoya Sanzaburo and Takagi Umanosuke with an Inflated Ghost

Left Panel: Takagi Umanosuke

高木馬之助

たかぎうまのすけ

Triptych Title: Honchō sanyūshi

(or Honchō sanotokoshi - according to a particularly reputable source)

本朝三勇士

ほんちょう.さんゆうし?

Date: 1852, 6th Month

Kaei 5

嘉永5

Censors: Fuku & Muramatsu

(1849-53)

村松

ふく

むらまつ

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga

Publisher: Kaga-ya Yasubei

加屋安兵衛

かがややすべえ

Print Size: 15" x 10"

SOLD!

 

 

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED

THE KANJI CHARACTERS SO OFTEN ILLUSTRATED ON

LANTERNS & UMBRELLAS?

 

 

   

Publisher:

Kagaya Yasubei

 

Date Seal:

1852, 6th Month

 
To see a different example of this publisher's mark click on the insert above to go to another web page.    
     

Censor Seals:

Fuku & Muramatsu

 

 

THE TRIPTYCH BEING SHOWN BELOW IS NOT FOR SALE!

We are only showing this in order that the visitor to this page

will be able to see what the whole triptych looks like.

Illustrated on-line:

There is a copy of the full triptych at the Hagi Uragami Museum.

 

 

ON LOOKING UP BY CHANCE AT THE CONSTELLATIONS

 

The heading on this section is actually the title of a poem by Robert Frost. I chose it because it best describes those lucky encounters which viewers have of certain Japanese prints when they catch a glimpse of the mica ground used to enhance specific images. This happens only when there is a momentary reflection of  light off the print at just the right angle. It is not unlike the thrill experienced by the diamond or gold prospector when something suddenly sparkles and sets itself off from its surroundings .

 

Purveyors of ukiyo prints occasionally make references to mica grounds, but rarely if ever bother to publish illustrations which show them. There are practical reasons for this: one is the prohibitive costs of high quality publications and another is the distortion of the image field necessary to capture those mica reflections. However, the marvels of the Internet combined with an inexpensive but decent camera now make such images accessible.

 

The two examples shown below make it possible for you to see what I am seeing in person. Both photographs were taken at sharp but different angles which accounts for the variations in the highlights in the dark charcoal field at the top left.

 

It is like looking into the night sky and dreaming.  Isn't it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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