Painting of a Peacock


Painting of a Peacock
Print   (Part of the set: Akashi-ban Surimono)

Totoya Hokkei


Print is Public Domain; Photography is:   Creative Commons License


This surimono features a painting of peacocks, pines, a waterfall, and a roll of red fabric. The image is a "congratulatory" or "auspicious" one, the objects pictured used to represent good fortune. The print is from the Mutsumigawa Bantsuzuki Makura no Sōshi (睦側番つゝき 枕草子, "The Pillow Book Series for the Mutsumi Group") series of prints by Hokkei. The Pillow Book obviously refers to the famous literary work by Sei Shōnagon, and the Mutsumi Group would have been a poetry circle.

It appears that kimedashi, an embossing technique produced by pushing the back of the paper down into recessions carved into the block, has been used in the feathers of the peacock. The front side of the sheet is thus raised up slightly, and the print is actually turned into a (very shallow) bas relief object. There are limits as to how far this can be carried without tearing the paper, but even a shallow kimedashi can be very effective.

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