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Tools and Materials Illustrating the Japanese Method of Colour-Printing Edward F. Strange
Plate II HOKUSAI - Original drawing for one of the series of prints called 'The 100 Poems Explained by the Nurst'
Designs for Japanese colour-prints were made by artists, who, as a rule, were adherents of the Popular (Ukiyoye) School and, socially, of the rank of artisans. The drawing was done with a brush on very thin Mino or Gampi paper, the colours used being washes of water-colour worked with rice-paste medium. To correct the design, the portions to be altered were covered with pieces of paper, on which the revised drawing was made. The completed design (generally, to begin with, in black lines only, or with only a little tint as a guide to the engraver) was then fastened face downwards on the block with rice starch weakened with water. As much as possible of its upper surface was rubbed away, some oil being used to make the remainder more translucent, and thus to enable the engraver more easily to follow the lines of the drawing.
It is evident that this process resulted in the destruction of the designs. The Museum, however, has acquired a number of unused drawings, which fully illustrate this stage; and the series of blocks exhibited (E. 4136 - 4322 - 1909) have, in several instances, remains of the paper still adhering to the uncut portions of their surfaces.
* NOTE - The objects exhibited in the Museum are labelled to correspond with this consecutive series of numbers.
1. ILLUSTRATION of a colour-print artist making a design; showing his position when drawing and method of holding the brush.
A colour-print in the Japanese manner, by Emil Orlik, of Prague.
E. 796 - 1903
2. ORIGINAL DRAWING (not engraved) for a colour-print, showing the Artist's corrections. By Utagawa Kuniyoshi (A.D. 1797 - 1861).
E. 2250 - 1909
Subject - The celebrated swordsmith Sanjo Kokagi Munechika forging a blade in the grounds of the Inari Temple, assisted by a Fox-Spirit in the form of a woman.
3. ORIGINAL DRAWING (not engraved) for a 3-sheet colour-print, showing the Artist's corrections. By Hiroshige I. (A.D. 1796 - 1858).
E. 2229 - 1910
Subject - Street scene in Akabane, Tokyo.
4. BRUSHES used by (Japanese) painters of the Chinese School.
E. 4203 - 4206 - 1911
Founded by Josetsu (2nd half of the 14th century). The style is still practised.
5. BRUSHES used by painters of the Tosa School.
E. 4200 - 4202 - 1911
The School (the National School of Japanese Painting) was first composed of a number of groups, more or less related, which coalesced under the name of Tosa in the time of Kasuga Tsunetaka (early 13th century), who seems to have been the first to use this appellation. The style is still practised.
6. BRUSHES used by painters of the Sesshiu School.
E. 4190, 4191 - 1911
Founded by Sesshiu (1420 - 1506), and based on the methods of the Chinese painters of the Sung Dynasty (960 - 1280). The style is still practised.
7. BRUSHES used by painters of the Kano School.
E. 27 - 29 - 1913
Founded by Kano Masanobu (1453 - 1550). The style is still practised.
8. BRUSHES used by painters of the Maruyama and Shijo Schools (Naturalistic).
E. 4192 - 4199 - 1911
Founded by Okyo Maruyama (1733 - 1795); and Matsumura Goshun (1752 - 1811). The style is still practised.
9. BRUSHES common to painters of various Schools.
E. 4207 - 4212 - 1911
10. BRUSHES used by painters in lacquer.
E. 4213 - 4232 - 1911
11. BRUSHES used for writing.
E. 170 - 187 - 1911