雪の山道を行く僧 (Priest on Snowy Path)

Designer: Utagawa Kuniyoshi | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Kenichi Kubota

Paper size: 15.5cm by 24cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [M] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 100.00£ 80.75€ 92.00

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Description: (from Dave’s notes for his original publication of this print back in 2003) "This design is one from a set of ten, and has become one of Kuniyoshi’s best-known works. It makes rather heavy use of the bokashi gradation technique, but there is an extra ‘twist’ that rather complicates matters.

"In this print, all these areas that have gradations are not smooth, but are interrupted by snowflakes. Whenever you see white in a classical ukiyo-e print, you are looking at the white of the paper, not at white pigment, and so it is in this case. All those white specks are bare paper, and this means that on each of the blocks - sea, sky, mountainside, buildings - each and every one of those specks is carved out of the wood. Now this poses no special difficulties for the carver, but when the printer sees a block like this, he knows he is facing a challenge.

"The problem is water. In order to print a smooth gradation, the surface of the block must be moistened, and of course, wiping water across a piece of wood riddled with tiny indentations tends to leave the holes full of water. When the pigment is brushed over the surface, the printed result is not ‘empty’ white spots, but coloured ‘blots’. The difficulty is magnified on this print by the fact that many of the blocks - the sea for example - must be printed more than once to produce the required effect, making it quite a challenge to keep all the specks clear and bright.

"I knew what I was letting myself in for when I chose this design, with snowflakes covering almost the entire surface of the image, so made no complaint while working my way through the large number of impressions. All in all, it was very good practice, but I was glad to get to the end of the stack of the 200 copies that I made!"

(This version has been printed from Dave's block set by one of the Mokuhankan staff printers ...)

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