Posted by Noel Chiappa (220.127.116.11) on March 30, 2011 at 17:31:33:
In Reply to: Kunisada Print posted by Irwin on March 30, 2011 at 00:50:07:
A few comments to expand on some points already answered:
"Can anyone identify the aratami seal ...? (I did not see this seal listed in the Hotei Encyclopedia."
It might be listed in a different location from other seals because it's such a generic seal - it was in use, in one form or other, from 1848 till 1872 (by itself, from 1848 till 1857). In this it's similar to the 'kiwame' (極 - 'examined') seal, which was in use from 1790 till 1845.
"I've seen several online images of the rectangular publisher's seal attributed to Aito and one that equated Aito with the name Shitaya So-To. Is this correct?"
Publisher's names! There is no more confusing topic in woodblock prints, I swear - changing artists' names make them look simple! A publisher would often have no less than four separate names!
In addition to the personal name of the owner, publishers usually also used one or two business names, the 'ya-go' (屋号) and 'do-go' (堂号), named for the differing suffixes applied to the business name. 'Ya' means 'shop', and 'do' means 'firm', so in meaning they are roughly the same. However, the name before the suffix is not the same for the 'ya-go' and 'do-go' forms; for example, the publisher Kihei had 'go' of Sano-ya and Kikaku-do.
In addition, publishing houses often had a 'short' name, used in publisher seals on prints; this was usually created by taking the name of the shop and of the proprietor, from which was formed (often, but not always, by taking the first syllable of each) a shorter name. So, the publisher "Maruya Seibei" was the shop Maru-ya, owned by Seibei; its short name was 'Marusei'. However, the short name often outlived the owner it was originally asociated with.
These short names are often what is given in the publisher seals. For some publishers, sources give short names which do not correspond to either any contraction of the long name, or the characters in the seal. Presumably these short names come from either other seals used by that publisher, or from other contemporary sources.
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