famous Ukiyoe Artist Chikashige Morikawa made Japanese Edo antique Ukiyoe woodblock print during his productive years of 1869-1882. at the emd of the Edo period. He was one of two most known students of the great and most famous Kunichika Toyohara. Most of his block-print art is of kabuki scenes. This print represents a kabuki scene played by two men and a beautifil woman. One of the men is holding a sword. but I am not sure what he is about to do with it. It is painted with great passion, capturing the expressions of the actor's faces and seemingly their characters. He has frozen a scene from the kabuki play in time, much of which has lost audiences over the years as Japan became more westernized. Their costumes very detailed and beautiful, it is printed in very rich colors with the deep red background and colorful figures and costumes. This is in excellent condition almost pristine, It is not glued onto a backing which is a big plus comparatively. I saw several in the auction with tears although still wonderful. From Japan, I am guessing that he won them at auction for an estate or closed shop. In addition to his signature on the prints of his art, the actor's names and the parts they played are included. I will need to get help with the writing of the other names in Japanese, then we may be able to identify which kabuki it is.
Size of each, three: 14 x 9.4 inches or 35.7 x 23 cm
Ukiyoe Arist Morikawa Chikashige 守川周重
Chikashige Morikawa lived from 1835-1900. He was a student of Kunichika Toyohara and one of two best known artists that studied under him, He was mainly productive between the years 1869-1882. Morikawa builds on tradition but develops the image language to its own. Something that is especially noted in the figures' facial expressions. Usually, Chikashige Kabuki actor depicted in colorful subjects. We know very little about Morikawa Chikashige, and that many woodblock prints were made by the artist. I have found that he produced over 650 prints during his time.
Morikawa's prints are kept in strong, gaudy aniline colors that are so typical for many woodblock prints from the early Meiji period. With the Meiji reforms the old, natural colors made from minerals and plants were by and by replaced by synthetic colors. Most of Morikawa's prints show subjects from the kabuki theater and the Imperial Court of the early Meiji period, so I question the accuracy of his 'production' dates. This information was taken from many different sources a sentence at a time including a short article by Dieter Wanczura.
Woodblock printing in Japan
Woodblock printing in Japan , mokuhanga木版画 is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period of 1603–186). Although similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the mokuhanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency
Hvaing alreadygained use in temples, the first Ukiyoe secular book was printed in Japan in 1591. Private printers appeared in Kyoto at the beginning of the 17th century. The medium quickly gained popularity and was used to produce affordable prints as well as books. Woodblock printing, though more time-consuming and expensive than later methods, was far less so than the traditional method of writing out each copy of a book by hand. After the decline of ukiyo-e and introduction of movable type and other technologies, woodblock printing continued as a method for printing texts as well as for producing art, both within traditional modes such as ukiyo-e . Institutes such as the "Adachi Institute of Woodblock Prints" and "Takezasado" continue to produce ukiyo-e prints with the same materials and methods as used in the past
Excerpts. See more information in the Wiki article including on techniques. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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