Descending Geese - Eight Views of Cats (落雁 猫八景)

Designer: Rei/Parker | Carver: Tsoi Wai Chung | Printer: Chiharu Kawai

Paper size: 14cm by 21cm | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [M] ? ( Change currency: $ / £ / )

Price: $ 120.00£ 95.50€ 110.00

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Description: About the series: This is the third publication in what is building to become a set of woodblock prints that follow the traditional concept of creating images in groups of eight. The practice originated in China back in the 12th century - based on landscape painting - and migrated to Japan some hundreds of years later. In the Edo-era, when woodblock printmaking began to flourish, the idea took off and a great many sets of such prints were created, no longer just landscape, but in a much wider variety of genres: historical episodes, kabuki actors, beautiful women … anything was fair game.

In the summer of 2019, we at Mokuhankan decided to pick up on this old idea, and proposed our own set - 8 Views of Cats. We publicized the idea through our website and videos, and put out a call for images to be submitted for consideration. The process is still going on, and you can learn more about it on its website.

About this print: Although the overall theme of any given 'Eight Views' set can vary, one of the rules of the genre is that the eight individual designs in any set must follow a prescribed set of sub-themes: Evening Snow, Night Rain, Autumn Moon, Evening Bell, Returning Sails, Descending Geese, Evening Glow, and Clearing Weather. This print of course picks up the Descending Geese theme (twice, actually).

There is a bit of a round-about story to the design. Soon after the project went online, and entries began to pour in, we realized that many of them were not fully 'realized' designs. There were many people interested in contributing to the series, but who were not experienced artists/illustrators/designers. These people sent us 'concepts' - illustrations that served to show an idea for a print - but which couldn't be used 'as is'. One such was this item, from Daniel Parker:

I (Dave) thought this was worth pursuing, and arranged with Daniel that we would pick this up and run with it, to see where it might go. I scribbled a possible design concept on a sheet of paper, outlining how I thought it might look, and one of our printers - young Rei-chan - put that into a properly worked out design. She and her partner Chon-san the carver, then got to work to create the little masterpiece you see here! (The two of them have collaborated on a number of other prints, and the name 'HellohollowPrintsland', embossed on this print is their 'art name'.)

(Early on in the project I made the decision not to make all the incoming design suggestions open and available for anybody to see. One consequence of that choice was that as time went by, I began to see a pattern of similar ideas coming in. And indeed, the idea of a cat pushing something off a table turned out to be somewhat 'popular'. But Daniel's was the first one in, so he will be the person sharing the design royalty with Rei-chan ...)

I mentioned a moment ago that the Descending Geese theme was represented here twice. Back in the Edo period, when 8 Views was a very popular theme, Hiroshige did quite a few designs based on it, including this one:

Seems that our little cat is quite fascinated by it! :-)

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