Re: woman in boat on river at night

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Posted by Woody B. ( on October 25, 2018 at 13:32:18:

In Reply to: Re: woman in boat on river at night posted by Alec W. on October 16, 2018 at 01:33:16:

Hi Anne,

As you suspected, the print is a later version, dating from around the Taisho period (c.1920). (Nice detective work by Alec to uncover the basis for the design.)

Many miniature versions of ukiyo-e designs were printed around this time, as the small format made it convenient for foreigners to carry them home. Carving and printing skills were very high in this period, and due to lithography and photography, carvers and printers did not have enough work, so this type of production helped them stay alive and keep their crafts honed.

It's always interesting to me that, however advanced the skills of the craftspeople, something of the "spirit of the age" always seeps though. If you compare your print to the version on which it's based, you can't help feeling it's imbued with a different ethos. The design Alec posted seeps Edo; yours seeps Taisho/early Showa.

Now, that may have been aiming for something different, but you feel these differences even in straight-up reproductions. It's as though their hands can't help reworking it, as the artisans' consciousnesses are constructed differently.

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