Kubo SHUNMAN (1757-1820)

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Mishima, or Toi, Province of Settsu. The best desigm from an exquisite set of six prints showing graceful young women, girls and, in two instances, young men representing the Six Crystal (Tama) Rivers. These streams were noted for the purity of their water. The prints are in benigirai style, “red avoiding,” a technique pioneered by Shunman, Eishi and Shuncho. Shows a seated girl fulling cloth (hence Toi which is the alternative name of the river and the word for beating cloth) with three other beauties near the village of Mishima. A light shower passes by in the background. Shunman, a man of great sophistication, designed only a few prints before concentrating on surimono and printing and issuing some of the finest in this format. (See The Japanese Print: A New Approach, J. Hillier, pp. 102-104 where he says “Probably no artist except Choki has achieved so high a reputation on such a small number of prints.”) He also excelled at painting, book illustration and light verse. Published by Fushimiya Zenroku, c 1787. (A later edition was published by Tsutaya with less harmonious colours.) One of the most beautiful 18th century sets, and together with a night triptych showing people returning from a poetry reading, is considered his masterpiece. The complete set (trimmed) is illustrated in the Gale Catalogue Of Japanese Paintings & Prints, J. Hillier, Routledge, 1970, number 133 (a) – (f). Provenance: Originally purchased from me in 2008. Rare.


Fine impression. The centre female’s kimono blind-printed. Very good colour: printed only in tones of grey, light yellow and light pink, with touches of light red on the tree. Very small repaired wormhole, otherwise extremely good condition with extra paper at left. Probably untrimmed (whereas illustrated examples all seem to be trimmed somewhere). Signed Shunman with seal Shunman.


Status: Sold


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