Surimono without texts

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Posted by David on December 07, 2002 at 03:42:13:

In the last year I've seen a number of shikishi format surimono without texts. They always look rather sad and naked to me without the poetry, so I avoid them, but I'm wondering what the theories on these prints are. Were they trial/proof prints for the image part of the surimono? Were they produced after the initial surimono run to take advantage of a good block that still had some runs left in it? Or were they (I've read this theory somewhere) possibly samples of some sort, designs that a potential patron could choose to add his poetry to as a New Year's gift? (This last possibility suggests that the text-image relation in surimono would not always be based on a prior text, so is disturbing to the purist in me, but I imagine a poet could be inspired by the image equally well.) Any thoughts or insights?

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