雪 (Snow)

Designer: Ando Hiroshige | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Kenichi Kubota

Paper size: 15.7cm by 21.5cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [M] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 75.00£ 60.75€ 69.00

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Description: Does this image date from 1851, or from 1907? The answer is ... both! This view of the Ocha no Mizu district of Edo (Tokyo) was originally created by Hiroshige as part of his ‘Famous Places in Edo’ series. It depicted the bridge over the Kanda River - as we see it here - accompanied by a group of people walking up the slope at the right, and was apparently quite popular.

Skipping ahead to the very late Meiji period, we find the same image appearing once more, this time as the opening spread in a beautifully printed woodblock album issued by the publisher Hasegawa, entitled ‘Sword and Blossom Poems’. The album combines Japanese images with English translations of ancient poetry, accompanied by an explanatory preface and postscript. Every bit of it was carved and printed in the woodblock technique, including all the text.

It is an astonishingly beautiful production, and was so successful that Hasegawa issued two more volumes in the series over the next few years.

It is a bit sad to think that such a book as this could never be produced these days, as the labour costs would make it prohibitively expensive. It was only possible in the first place because Japan at the time was a ‘poor country’ and the consumers of the work were in ‘rich countries’. Those are economic terms of course; there was nothing ‘poor’ about a society that could create such things as those albums!

Here are a few closeups ...

The poem is carved, not printed with type. This font is known as 'Hasegawa', after the original publisher.

Each print is embossed with our 'Mokuhankan' mark.

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