Sumida River (隅田川)

Designer: Hotei Gosei | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Yasue Tsushima

Paper size: 20cm by 17.7cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [M] ? ( Change currency: $ / £ / )

Price: $ 100.00£ 70.50€ 82.25

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Description: [Taken from Dave's original publication of this print in his Surimono Albums] Can you see the river in this print? Well, although no actual water is visible, that famous river is the theme of this image. We are looking at one print from a large set devoted to ‘Famous Products of Edo’ (researchers have found more than a dozen images so far ...). The series was commissioned by a poetry group in about 1812, and was designed by Hotei Gosei, whose signature and seal appear at the right side of the image.

Unlike many Edo-era surimono, there seems to be nothing mysterious or difficult to understand about this print - the banks of the Sumida River were a famous o-hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spot, and a flask of o-sake and some ‘nibbles’ (whitefish in this case) were an essential component of any outing to see the blossoms, as they still are to this day.

I am pleased to be able to bring you this particularly image - for a couple of reasons. One is that I think you have probably never heard of this artist before; it is my special ‘promise’ to help expose and bring to light unknown treasures, and this print certainly qualifies! But another reason for my pleasure with this print is that it provides an excellent ‘illustration’ of just how important proper lighting is to these traditional prints. Long-time collectors of my work know that I am constantly talking to people about ‘how’ to look at these prints - about how they look best when overhead lights in the room are turned off, and they are seen in raking light. So let me emphasize once more that a woodblock print like this is not just a ‘picture’ drawn by one man, but is a three-dimensional object made by a group of people, and that it needs to be viewed in the proper light to be fully seen and understood properly.

And it is because this print in particular looks so fabulous that way with the embossings fully visible that I bring this point up yet again ...

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