針仕事 (Two Women Sewing)

Designer: Chinnen | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Kenichi Kubota

Paper size: 16.5cm by 19cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [M] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 80.00£ 64.75€ 73.75

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Description: The design here dates from the 1830s, and is by Onishi Chinnen. The picture tells a story of course; the argument could be put forth that what we have here is actually an early form of 'cartoon'. (I certainly find it funny, although it does cut a bit close to the bone for me!)

* * *

(From Dave's notes for his original edition of this print - in his Surimono Albums)

... All the roughness is completely intentional; the 'torn' lines and 'careless' printing are just as they were in the original. You see, this print is not ukiyo-e. The design has nothing in common with the standard ukiyo themes of actors, courtesans, and Edo famous places. The original of this print was made with the intention of reproducing as closely as possible, a quick brush-drawn sketch. Back in the Edo era, albums full of designs such as this were commonly made, sometimes to serve as te-hon (sample books for aspiring artists), and of course also to be attractive images in their own right.

To make all those ragged lines, I used the kasure (scratch) technique to try and catch the flavour of a partially dry brush dragging across the paper. After the basic shape of the line is carved, one then takes the knife and digs, cuts and scrapes away at the wood. It's hard on knife blades, and takes a long time, but when it's done, the finished print looks very much like it was actually drawn with a brush.

And as for the 'weak' sumi, I printed the key block of this print twice - once with an extremely dilute ao-zumi, and then again (but only partially) with a stronger bokuju.

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