A rare chance to acquire an example of a print by Suzuki Harunobu himself, the master of Japanese woodblock printing "[who) has won the unfeigned adulation of almost every collector and critic of Japanese prints since [his generation]" (Jack Hiller -- Suzuki Harunobu). This is the image Descending Geese on the Sumida River / Sumidagawa rakugan, from the series Fashionable Eight Views of Edo / Fûryû Edo hakkei. Signed in the block Harunobu ga 春信画, the image is of two young women (courtesans, geishas?) in a boat, one sitting and one standing fishing, with a flock of geese descending onto marshland behind them. In the background a ferry traverses the scene and a man leads a horse along the cliff path.
The standing figure has magnificent gauffrage / karazuri on her robes.
Above the scene is inscribed a poem: Koete koshi/ mine wa amata no/ kumoji yori/ Sumida ga hara ni/ otsuru karigane.
Size: vertical chûban; approx 26.8 x 21.9 cm; 10 9/16" x 8 5/16". Woodblock print / nishiki-e; ink and color on paper.
Both the Metropolitan Museum and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts have examples of this print and the title seems to vary from Geese Flying Down The Sumida River to Fishing On The Sumida River. As far as we can determine, this example is from the Meiji Period edition. And, having searched various databases, we have been unable to find another example of this print for sale from any edition in the last 10 years and beyond.
References given for the image are thus: Waterhouse, The Harunobu Decade (2013), #314; Ukiyo-e shûka 4 (1979), list #323.6, and supp. 1 (1982), pl. 315; Gentles, AIC cat. II (1965), p. 137, #226.
Condition: This is nicely framed, probably about 50 years ago judging by the materials. The paper was tipped onto a black backing and which in turn is tipped down onto a silk matt and then placed in a simple black wood frame. The glass is lacking. The tipping down is about 1/5 of the top portion of the print, so it floats loose for the bottom 4/5ths. We have not removed the matt and print from the frame as we prefer to leave this to the buyer to do. Tiny crease to top right corner and a short (1/16") indentation to paper on the left boat gunwale at the left edge. There are some lighter spots on the paper -- or the paper has darkened everywhere but the spots. These can be seen in the photos; otherwise it seems to be in remarkably nice condition. We have described this to the best of our ability and knowledge, however, we are not Japanese prints experts, so please email with any questions, as we may have overlooked something of major importance to a collector.
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Texas buyers please note that sales tax will be collected either by Ruby Lane or by us.
Suzuki Harunobu Antique Japanese Woodblock Print Geisha 8 Fashionable Views of Edo