Bird and Bamboo (処暑過ぎて)

Designer: Unknown | Carver: David Bull | Printer: Yasue Tsushima

Paper size: 11cm by 15cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [HC] ? ( Change currency: $ / £ / )

Price: $ 40.00£ 32.25€ 36.75

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Description: This print is a typical example of a te-hon - a picture created with the express purpose of serving as an example for students to copy. Such images were traditionally produced by teachers directly for their students, but with the sudden wide spread of education to people of all social classes in the Meiji period it was no longer possible for students to have individual access to a teacher’s sample brush work, so woodblock versions of such images were published for use in schools and other institutions.

The print we used as the master for this reproduction was one such production, and seems to have been made in late Meiji. It depicts very common themes; bamboo was one of the first things that young students learned to draw, and birds followed not too far behind.

But simple though the ‘components’ may be, their placement in an image is anything but, and this print demonstrates one of the defining characteristics of Japanese art - the use of large amounts of empty space. Typical western art (of the pre-modern era) filled its canvases from side to side and top to bottom. The Japanese played the game in a different way, and the empty region on this print, and the apparent ‘unbalance’, would have been unthinkable to an artist in the era before the Japanese influence washed over the west …

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