娘と桜 (Girl and Blossoms)

Designer: Nishikawa Sukenobu | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Kenichi Kubota

Size: 23.5cm by 16.5cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [M] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 75.00£ 57.25€ 66.75

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Description: This is a design Nishikawa Sukenobu, who lived and worked in Kyoto. In his time there was a thriving book publishing industry in that part of Japan; the book from which this picture is taken ('Ehon Chiyomigusa'), was published in Osaka in 1740.

He designed this print about two decades before the full-colour nishiki-e technique was developed - the book was printed in black only. All the colours you see in this print are not the work of Sukenobu, but were conceived by Dave. This actually is not such a 'terrible' thing to do as it might sound; if a modern western printmaker made a new edition of a Rembrandt etching with new colours added, it might not be accepted too well by the art community, but the Japanese traditional way of printmaking delegated a tremendous amount of responsibility to the carver and printer, and we know that quite often the designer's only input was the original brush sketch - the rest of the work, even such creative jobs such as devising attractive colour schemes, was done by the shokunin, who were quite capable of it ... when they had reason to!

Note (1): This print was originally published by David in his Surimono Albums series. He made approximately 200 copies of each of those prints, and distributed them only in album form, never as single prints. It is his idea that after the 200 album sets of any particular album have been sold, the blocks (still in absolutely perfect condition) could then be used to produce prints to be added to the Mokuhankan catalogue, with the printing being done by hired craftsmen working under his direction. The first Surimono Album is now out-of-print, and this is one of the designs from it.

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