冬ごもり (Deep Winter)

Designer: Shibata Zeshin | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Yasue Tsushima

Size: 11cm by 15cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [HC] ? | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: $ 40.00£ 32.25€ 36.75

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Description: This simple little image is from the brush of Shibata Zeshin, a noted designer from the late Edo/early Meiji periods. He was most famous for his lacquerwork, but also created many of the small sculptures known as netsuke, as well as quite a number of woodblock print designs.

The print you see here was originally included in a book of his print designs, a book with absolutely no text inside, not a single word; it contains only illustrations. There is no ‘story’ in the sequence of pictures; there is no theme, and there is not even a seasonal progression; it is a completely random ‘grab-bag’ from his brush. There is a lot of white space and the pictures are quite sparse; you might pick up the book, flip through it in a few seconds, and put it aside ... yawn ... nothing much to see here ...

But once upon a time ... there existed a society which differed from our own in a quite interesting way - ‘images’ were not a part of the everyday surroundings of most people. There was no television or movies, no newspapers or magazines, no constant parade of ‘pictures’ in front of one’s eyes. Paintings and prints did exist of course, but they were far more ‘special’ things than they are to us now, and for the average person, certainly not something that they saw on a daily basis.

But if you try to put yourself in the place of somebody from that era and pick up this print, what will you see there? Can you take time to drink in the image ... and can you begin to gain a real feeling for the scene depicted here?

It's cold outside!

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