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Doi-san's Book

Posted by Cameron Hilker on October 24, 2018 [Permalink]

Cameron here with an update! Our veteran staff member Doi-san brought something very interesting into our shop on Monday: an English-language book he co-authored, all about woodblock prints! He just got back from an exhibition in the UK about the book, and is excited to share it.

It's called 'Rankafu' and tells the history of a banker named Shotaro Kaga who bred orchids in the first half of the 20th century. He wanted to share his orchids with the world, so he commissioned artist Zuigetsu Ikeda to paint watercolors of his orchids, which were then adapted and produced as beautiful woodblock prints. This all happened in the 1930s and 40s, and the prints finally were published in 1946.

Below are several photos from inside of the book, to get an idea of the kind of woodblock prints that were made.

Our friend Doi-san is the man in the middle photo below.

The three authors, Stephen Kirby, Toshikazu Doi, and Toru Otsuki have spent several years collecting prints and performing research to put together this volume. They even have used some photos taken at Mokuhankan and tools borrowed from Mokuhankan to research and demonstrate printmaking techniques for this book. For examples, Suga-san is working hard on this page.

Here are some photos of the authors doing research, including a picture of many of the original woodblocks they discovered in storage!

As of this moment, it is only available through the website of the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK (http://shop.kew.org/rankafu-orchid-print-album) but they are looking into making it more widely available in the future. The ISBN is 978 1 84246 668 1, so you can search for it anywhere in the world.

This is a beautifully printed book packed with information about how and why these prints were produced, and the people who worked on them, and we offer our congratulations to Doi-san and the others who worked so hard to put it together.




Added by: Dgc2002 on October 24, 2018, 11:18 am

Wow, that image of the woodblocks they found in storage is insane. Wonder how much of it was useful/interesting.

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