The Scent of Chrysanthemums (菊の香り)

Designer: Kajita Hanko | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Chiharu Kawai

Paper size: 22cm by 29.5cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [L] ? ( Change currency: $ / £ / )

Price: $ 200.00£ 155.00€ 180.00 [Reprinting]

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Description: [Note: This print initially appeared in Dave's 'Beauties of Four Seasons' print collection, and is now being released as a single item for the first time.]

[Dave's original notes:] "This print was originally issued as a kuchi-e (frontispiece) included with the popular magazine Bungei Kurabu ('Literary Art Club'), in the October issue of Meiji 38 (1905). The image apparently was not intended to be an illustration to a specific item or story in the magazine, but served to add a general seasonal touch to the publication. It was designed by Kajita Hanko, a name well known in the world of kuchi-e, but almost totally unrecognized outside of that sphere.

"This is 'ukiyo-e in transition'. Back in the Edo era, few of the people depicted in woodblock prints had features that bore any resemblance at all to real human faces. But if we happened to have a photograph of this scene and overlaid it with this drawing, the two would 'line up' almost perfectly. The 'art' of drawing the human figure had moved a long way in a hundred years. This is not to imply that all kuchi-e were totally realistic; depending on the designer, facial features had varying degrees of stylization, but the genre as a whole shows a fascinating transition from the somewhat flat drawing of the ukiyo-e, to a type of drawing obviously influenced by the arrival of the camera. Viewers had come to expect images to look more like the 'real thing'.

"During the course of the 20th century, few woodblock publishers attempted to make reproductions of kuchi-e. The large number of blocks involved, as well as the extremely delicate nature of both the printing and the carving, made such projects impractical. Dave though, has been bound by no such restrictions during his career, and made this print in 2004, taking three months to get the set of blocks ready, then pulling about 200 impressions. Once these are gone, that will probably be it for this one, as there are now no other printers available to us with the experience of working on prints with such an astonishing level of nuance ..."

* * *

That was then; this is now. The Mokuhankan printers have been growing in stature, and some of them are ready for this work. We have produced editions of this print from both Natsugi Suga and Chiharu Kawai, now well-established 'veterans' on our staff!

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