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Takeuchi Seihō: Seihō's Masterpieces


Seihō's Masterpieces (栖鳳逸品集 Seihō's ippin shū) consists of sixty-six limited edition prints issued by Unsōdō Publishing over five years, beginning in April 1937 and ending in June 1942, produced from drawings made by the Kyoto artist Takeuchi Seihō (1864-1942). Using multiple printing techniques such as color woodblock and collotype, Unsōdō spared no effort in faithfully rendering into large-format prints Seihō’s watercolor and ink drawings.1 Seiho's Masterpieces includes scenes from the artist's travels to South China in 1921-1922, renderings of animals (domestic and wild), still-lifes of fish and flora, depictions of cultural events such as festival floats and kabuki, and landscapes of the Japanese countryside, including two prints depicting Mt. Fuji. While there are no historical records explaining how this project came about2, other than the 1937 Preface to Set One and the 1940 Publisher's Foreword to Set Two, it is reasonable to assume, given the artist’s declining health when the series was started in 1937 and his receipt of the Order of Culture in early 1937, that it was truly intended by his long-time publisher Unsōdō (and likely the artist himself) as an “elegy and a testament” to one of the greatest painters and teachers of his time.3

Displayed below are images of all sixty-six prints, part of the Spencer Collection of the New York Public Library, along with their titles and dimensions.4  Prints that are also part of this collection carry their catalogue number below their image. To my knowledge, this is the first time images of all the prints from Seihō's Masterpieces have been presented.

Following the images of the prints additional details on the series are provided.

1 As the original drawings have been lost or destroyed we can only infer from the prints which media were used by Seihō to create the original drawings.
2 Any existing documentation was lost when the publisher’s Tokyo office, where the prints were made, was bombed and destroyed during WWII.
3 Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan, Roger S. Keyes, The University of Washington Press with the New York Public Library, December 2006, p. 252 (text reproduced below.)
4 All dimensions are of the print's paper size not including the backing sheet.





Set One Consisting of Thirty-one Prints
Issued between April 1937 and December 1938

Preface - Contained in Envelope 1 of Set One
Dated 昭和十二年卯月 [Showa 12 (1937), uzuki (4th month of the Lunar calendar)]

Colophon for Envelope 1 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 12 (1937), 4th month, 20th day
Date of printing reads Showa 12 (1937), 4th month, 19th day

Envelope 1
Issued April 20, 1937
海魚 (ぐぢ)
kaigyo 
Ocean Fish (tilefish)
14 1/2 x 18 7/8 in. (36.8 x 47.9 cm)
Envelope 1
Issued April 20, 1937
惜春
sekishun
Spring is Over
14 1/8 x 4 5/8 in. (35.9 x 11.7 cm)
IHL Cat. #897
Envelope 1
Issued April 20, 1937
水墨雨後
Ink Painting, After the Rain
12 1/2 x 15 5/8 in. (31.8 x 32.1 cm)
IHL Cat. #916


Colophon for Envelope 2 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 12 (1937), 7th month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 12 (1937), 7th month, 15th day

Envelope 2
I
ssued July 25, 1937
紅富士
Pink Fuji
14 1/4 x 16 1/8 in. (36.2 x 41 cm)
Envelope 2
Issued July 25, 1937
水風清
Wind and Clear Water
10 x 10 5/8 in. (25.4 x 27 cm)
IHL Cat. #874

Envelope 2
Issued July 25, 1937
眠鷺
Sleeping Heron
15 3/8 x 5 3/8 in. (39.1 x 13.7 cm)

Envelope 2
I
ssued July 25, 1937
水墨山水
Suiboku Sansui
Ink Painting, Landscape
12 3/4 x 14 1/8 in. (32.4 x 35.9 cm)


Colophon for Envelope 3 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 12 (1937), 8th month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 12 (1937), 8th month, 19th day

Envelope 3
Is
sued August 25, 1937
たまり水
mizutamari
Puddle
18 3/4 x 14 1/4 in. (47.6 x 36.2 cm)
Envelope 3
Issued August 25, 1937
滿林秋色
shusshoku
Woods in Full Autumn Color
14 1/4 x 15 1/2 in. (36.2 x 39.4 cm)
Envelope 3
I
ssued August 25, 1937
平潮
Slack Tide
10 5/8 x 14 1/4 in. (27 x 36.2 cm )
IHL Cat. #876


Colophon for Envelope 4 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 12 (1937), 12th month, 5th day
Date of printing reads Showa 12 (1937), 12th month, 1st day

Envelope 4
Issued December 5, 1937
しぶ柿
shibugaki
Dried Persimmons
14 3/16 x 4 3/4 in. (36 x 12.1 cm)

Envelope 4
I
ssued December 5, 1937
水郷
Beautiful Riverside Village
IHL Cat. #815
15 x 18 5/8 in. (38.1 x 47.3 cm)
Envelope 4
I
ssued December 5, 1937
蟠蛇
Coiled Serpant
14 3/8 x 17 3/8 in. (36.5 x 44.1 cm)
IHL Cat. #899



Colophon for Envelope 5 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 13 (1938), 2nd month, 20th day
Date of printing reads Showa 13 (1938), 2nd month, 15th day

Envelope 5
I
ssued February 29, 1938
水風清 (部分)
Wind and Clear Water (detail)
10 1/2 x 14 5/8 in. (26.7 x 34.1 cm)
IHL Cat. #875
Envelope 5
I
ssued February 29, 1938
夏霞
S
ummer Haze
11 1/4 x 16 1/8 in. (36.2 x 41 cm)
Envelope 5
Issued February 29, 1938
椿
tsubaki
Camellia
15 1/16 x 18 1/2 in. (38.3 x 47 cm)



Colophon for Envelope 6 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 13 (1938), 3rd month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 13 (1938), 3rd month, 20th day

Envelope 6
I
ssued March 25, 1938
鮮魚 (鯖)
senyo saba
Fresh Fish (mackerel)
14 1/8 x 15 5/8 in. (35.9 x 39.7 cm)
IHL Cat.#918
Envelope 6
I
ssued March 25, 1938
南支風光
South China Scenery
11 3/16 x 16 1/8 in. (28.4 x 41 cm)
Envelope 6
I
ssued March 25, 1938
浪花舞燕
Swallow flitting above the waves
13 7/16 x 16 1/4 in. (13.4 x 41.3 cm)



Colophon for Envelope 7 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 13 (1938), 4th month, 20th day
Date of printing reads Showa 13 (1938), 4th month, 15th day

Envelope 7
I
ssued April 20, 1938
武惡
Evil Warrior
15 3/16 x 13 1/2 in. (38.6 x 34.3 cm)
Envelope 7
I
ssued April 20, 1938
水墨山水
suiboku sansui
Ink Painting, Landscape
12 5/8 x 14 9/16 in. (32.1 x 37 cm)
Envelope 7
I
ssued April 20, 1938
家鴨
ahiru
Domestic Duck
15 x 18 1/2 in. (38.1 x 47 cm)



Colophon for Envelope 8 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 13 (1938), 7th month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 13 (1938), 7th month, 20th day

Envelope 8
I
ssued July 25, 1938
秋興
shūkyō

The Pleasantness of Autumn
14 7/8 x 18 3/4 in. (37.8 x 47.6 cm)
Envelope 8
I
ssued July 25, 1938

潮來
Itako

13 15/16 x 18 3/16 (35.4 x 46.2 cm)
Envelope 8
I
ssued July 25, 1938
黃初平
Wong Cho Ping
15 x 16 7/8 in. (38.1 x 42.9 cm)
IHL Cat. #913



Colophon for Envelope 9 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 13 (1938), 11th month, 10th day
Date of printing reads Showa 13 (1938), 11th month, 5th day

Envelope 9
Issued November 10, 1938
梅雨時
tsuyudoki
Rainy Season
15 1/8 x 17 1/2 in. (38.4 x 44.5 cm)
Envelope 9
I
ssued November 10, 1938
雄姿颯爽
yūshi sassō
Gallant and Dashing
18 7/8 x 15 1/8 in. (47.9 x 38.4 cm)
Envelope 9
I
ssued November 10, 1938
枯木吟猿
Singing Monkey on a Bare Tree
15 x 18 3/16 in. (38.1 x 46.7 cm)
IHL Cat. #915



Colophon for Envelope 10 of Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 13 (1938), 12th month, 15th day
Date of printing reads Showa 13 (1938), 11th month, 20th day

Envelope 10
I
ssued December 12, 1938
狗子
Puppy
15 3/16 x 18 5/8 in. (38.6 x 47.3 cm)
IHL Cat. #914
Envelope 10
I
ssued December 12, 1938
祇園祭
Gionmatsuri
Gion Festival
10 x 14 3/8 in. (25.4 x 36.5 cm)
Envelope 10
I
ssued December 12, 1938
水墨山水
suiboku sansui
Ink Painting, Landscape
13 3/4 x 13 3/8 in. (34.9 x 34 cm)




Set Two Consisting of Thirty-five Prints
Issued between January 1940 and June 1942


Colophon for Envelope 1 of Set Two
-picture not available-


Envelope 1
I
ssued January 1940

Original Preface included in Set Two
(first released with Set One in April 1937
)
Envelope 1
I
ssued January 1940
Publisher's Foreword
[dated Kigen 2600 (2600th year of the Imperial Era)] 

Envelope 1
I
ssued January 1940
Table of Contents Series 2


Envelope 1
I
ssued January 1940
西郊
seikou
Fields in Springtime
15 5/16 x 17 11/16 (38.9 x 44.9 cm)
Envelope 1
I
ssued January 1940
溪村晩霽
Clear Night in Tanimura
12 1/4 x 11 3/8 in. (31.1 x 28.9 cm)
Envelope 1
I
ssued January 1940
じろ柿
shiro kaki
Dried (white) Persimmon
10 15/16 x 9 11/16 (27.8 x 24.6 cm)
IHL Cat. #908

Envelope 1
I
ssued January 1940

起上刂
okiagari
Pop-up Doll
10 7/8 x 9 3/4 (27.6 x 24.8 cm)



Colophon for Envelope 2 of Set Two
Date of issue reads Showa 15 (1940), 4th month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 15 (1940), 4th month, 20th day

 Envelope 2
I
ssued April 25, 1940
山村の花
sanson no hana
Mountain Village Flowers
15 1/8 x 16 7/8 in. (38.4 x 42.9 cm)
 Envelope 2
I
ssued April 25, 1940
冬日村居
Winter Day in the Village
13 x 14 7/8 in. (33 x 37.8 cm)
IHL Cat. #911
Envelope 2
I
ssued April 25, 1940
釜ほい山
Kama-hori, Yama (float)
15 x 18 3/4 in. (38.1 x 47.6 cm)




Colophon for Envelope 3 of Set Two

Date of issue reads Showa 15 (1940), 9th month, 20th day
Date of printing reads Showa 15 (1940), 9th month, 15th day

 Envelope 3
I
ssued September 20, 1940
江南風色
River Breeze
18 1/4 x 10 11/16 in. (26 x 27.1 cm )
IHL Cat. #843
Envelope 3
I
ssued September 20, 1940
旅窗漫筆
Sketches from a Window while Traveling
18 9/16 x 14 3/8 in. (47.1 x 36.5 cm)
IHL Cat. #912
Envelope 3
I
ssued September 20, 1940
殘夢
Remnant of a Dream
15 1/4 x 18 3/4 in. (38.7 x 47.6 cm)



Colophon for Envelope 4 of Set Two

Date of issue reads Showa 16 (1941), 1st month, 5th day
Date of printing reads Showa 15 (1940), 12th month, 30th day

Envelope 4
I
ssued January 5, 1941
水仙
Narcissus
10 15/16 x 9 13/16 in. (27.8 x 24.9 cm)
 Envelope 4
I
ssued January 5, 1941
遊鹿
Playful Deer
11 x 9 3/4 in. (27.9 x 24.8 cm)
 Envelope 4
I
ssued January 5, 1941
小暑
shōsho
Early Summer
11 x 9 13/16 in. (27.9 x 24.9 cm)

Envelope 4
I
ssued January 5, 1941
柳村
Yanagimura
15 1/4 x 17 3/4 in. ( 38.7 x 45.1 cm)


Colophon for Envelope 5 of Set Two

Date of issue reads Showa 16 (1941), 4th month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 16 (1941), 4th month, 20th day

Envelope 5
I
ssued April 25, 1941
うさぎ
usagi
Rabbit
10 3/4 x 9 5/8 in.(27.3 x 24.4 cm)
Envelope 5
I
ssued April 25, 1941
翠竹小禽
Green Bamboo and Small Bird
10 13/16 x 9 1/2 in. (27.5 x 24.1 cm)
Envelope 5
I
ssued April 25, 1941
莊苑風薫
kunpū shōen
Summer Breeze through the Manor
14 1/2 x 17 5/8 in. (36.8 x 44.8 cm)




Colophon for Envelope 6 of Set Two
Date of issue reads Showa 16 (1941), 8th month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 16 (1941), 8th month, 20th day

Envelope 6
I
ssued August 25, 1941
梅園
baien
Plum Garden
18 5/8 x 14 7/8 in. (47.3 x 37.8 cm)
Envelope 6
I
ssued August 25, 1941
月の八坂
Yasaka Pagoda in Moonlight
11 1/16 x 9 1/8 in. (28.1 x 23.2 cm)
Envelope 6
I
ssued August 25, 1941
海幸
Fruit of the Sea
14 x 9 15/16 in. (35.6 x 25.2 cm)
IHL Cat. #917

Envelope 6
I
ssued August 25, 1941
矢の根
yanone
The Arrowhead

15 x 18 1/2 in. (38.1 x 47 cm)


Colophon for Envelope 7 of Set Two

Date of issue reads Showa 16 (1941), 11th month, 1st day
Date of printing reads Showa 16 (1941), 10th month, 25th day

Envelope 7
I
ssued November 1, 1941
紅椿
Crimson Camellia
11 x 9 15/16 in. (27.9 x 25.2 cm)
Envelope 7
I
ssued November 1, 1941
燒鯛
Grilled Sea Bream
15 x 18 3/4 in. (38.1 x 47.6 cm)
IHL Cat. #910


Envelope 7
I
ssued November 1, 1941
水墨山水
suiboku sansui
Ink Painting, Landscape
13 3/4 x 17 9/16 in. (34.9 x 44.6 cm)

Envelope 7
I
ssued November 1, 1941
うさぎ
usagi
Rabbits

15 1/16 x 17 11/16 in. (38.3 x 4.9 cm)



Colophon for Envelope 8 of Set Two
Date of issue reads Showa 17 (1942), 6th month, 15th day
Date of printing reads Showa 17 (1942), 6th month, 5th day

Envelope 8
I
ssued June 15, 1942
富嶽
fugaku
Mt. Fuji
15 x 18 3/4 in. (38.1 x 47.6 cm)
Envelope 8
I
ssued June 15, 1942
家鴨
ahiru
Domestic Duck
13 1/4 x 14 7/16 in. (33.7 x 36.7 cm)
Envelope 8
I
ssued June 15, 1942
潮來
Itako
10 7/16 x 9 3/16 in. (26.5 x 23.3 cm)

Envelope 8
I
ssued June 15, 1942
春宵
shunshō
Spring Evening

14 1/2 x 16 13/16 in. (36.8 x 42.78 cm)



Colophon for Envelope 9 of Set Two
(The Final Six Prints)
Date of issue reads Showa 17 (1942), 6th month, 15th day
Date of printing reads Showa 17 (1942), 6th month, 5th day

Envelope 9
I
ssued June 15, 1942

雀のお宿

Sparrow Home

14 15/16 x 18 5/16 in. (37.9 x 46.5 cm)


 Envelope 9
I
ssued June 15, 1942
潮來秋色
Autumn Scenery in Itako
11 x 9 5/8 in. (27.9 x 24.4 cm)
 Envelope 9
I
ssued June 15, 1942
藝猿
Performing Monkey
11 x 9 5/8 in. (27.9 x 24.4 cm)

 Envelope 9
I
ssued June 15, 1942
南支風光
nanshi fūkō
South China Scenery
10 1/8 x 13 3/8 in. (25.7 x 34 cm)
Envelope 9
I
ssued June 15, 1942
獅子舞
shishimai
Lion Dance
11 x 9 5/8 in. (27.9 x 24.4 cm)
Envelope 9
I
ssued June 15, 1942
芋の子
Imonoko
Minor Taro Root
15 1/4 x 19 1/8 in. (38.7 x 48.6 cm)

The Series "Seihō's Masterpieces"

Set One of the series consists of thirty-one prints issued between April 1937 and December 1938. The first four prints of Set Two, consisting of thirty-five prints, were issued in January 1940 and the final prints were issued on June 15, 1942, shortly before Seihō's death in August of that year. The prints in both sets were released in groups of three, four, or, in one case, six prints, with each print mounted on a stiff piece of paper and covered with a glassine sheet. Each group was then placed into a mica-decorated envelope that included a colophon listing the date of publication and the titles of the prints in the envelope.

Typical envelope holding 4 to 6 prints

A preface to the series was issued in April 1937 with the first group of three prints in Set One and was re-issued in January 1940 with the first group of four prints from Set Two. A Publisher's Foreword dated "Kigen 2600"1 (1940) was added to the second set of prints and released with the first four prints of Set Two in January 1940.

The title for each print is provided in three places: affixed to the back of the paper the print was originally tipped to, on the colophons attached to each envelope the prints were released in, and in the Table of Contents that accompanied each of the two sets. Note that I have not seen a table of contents for Set One2, though it likely exists somewhere since Keyes states that a table of contents for Set One was released in April 1937.3

The size of the original edition for both sets was likely between 100 and 300 copies.4 While both Hillier and Keyes state that only a single edition of the series was made (based on Unsōdō's reports that the blocks were destroyed when their Tokyo facility was bombed during WWII), at least six of the prints were reissued by Unsōdō after Seihō's death, as square format (shikishiban) prints mounted on decorative cardboard. Yanaka Pagoda in Moonlight in this collection is one of the reissued prints; and other Unsōdō reissues include Early Summer, Narcissus, Green Bamboo and Small Bird, Puppy and Crimson Camellia. Given Hillier's and Keyes' assertions, I have to assume that the re-issued prints were made from newly cut blocks.

The majority of the prints were produced using traditional woodblock techniques, but collotype (yamato-ban insatsu)5 , a photographic process, was used for seven prints in Set One, which reproduce existing paintings by the artist.  Hillier restates Unsōdō's assertion that "Seihō himself supervised the printing, which was carried out by one master printer."6  Keyes identifies that printer as Shinmi Saburō 新味 三朗7, Unsōdō's primary printer for many years.


1
Kigen 2600 references the 2600th year of the Imperial Era (1940 AD) and was an occasion for great nationalist displays in wartime Japan.
2 A table of contents for Set One was not present in the New York Public Library's Spencer Collection when I viewed it in 2012 and 2013.
3 Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan, Roger S. Keyes, The University of Washington Press with New York Public Library, December 2006, p. 289.
4 Hillier in The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 993, deduces, based on the "normal practice" of the publisher Unsōdō, that no more than one hundred copies of the first ten parts were printed. Keyes, however, notes in the "Bibliographic Descriptions and References" section, p. 289, of Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan, "Edition of 300" and the last two colophons appearing on the envelopes for set two, state  "三00部" (300 copies).  At the time of his writing in 1987, Hillier did not find evidence that any of the second set of prints were ever produced. Of course we now know that the second set was issued and, in fact, is present in the New York Public Library's Spencer Collection.
5 Collotype printing had its first commercial use in Japan in 1889.  The collotype process was versatile and could produce high quality images on different types of paper. Collotype prints can be readily identified by the presence of image reticulation, a product of the finely cracked gelatin plate used to print the image, which can be seen under magnification. The size of the reticulation varies from print to print, but cannot be seen by the naked eye. The image can be a variety of colors.  Prints made from collotype plates can be either hand printed or printed using a press.
6 The Art of the Japanese Book, Jack Hillier, Sothebys Publications, London, 1987, p. 993.
7 Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan, Roger S. Keyes, The University of Washington Press with New York Public Library, December 2006, p. 252.


Seihō’s Masterworks - an elegy and a testament

I had the opportunity to view and photograph all sixty-six prints that make up the two sets of Seihō's Masterpieces in the New York Public Library's Print Room (part of their Spencer Collection1), and they are as impressive as Roger Keyes' comments, below, indicate. 

In attempting to translate the titles of the prints into English (and all errors in translation are mine alone), I found it intriguing that many of the titles used uniquely Chinese characters, suggesting a rather cultured market for this series. I also enjoyed the rather allusive nature of some of the titles, such as 殘夢 (Remnant of a Dream), picturing a fox and a noblewoman's sedge hat. A Japanese friend suggested that perhaps the fox, which can take on human form in Japanese legend, is vaguely recalling her past form as a noblewoman - the presence of the sedge hat triggering that "fragment" or "remnant" of a vague memory of things past.

The Comments of Roger Keyes
Source: Ehon: The Artist and the Book in Japan, Roger S. Keyes, The University of Washington Press with New York Public Library, December 2006, p. 252-253.

Seihō’s Masterworks is both an elegy and a testament. Seihō was the great Kyoto painter of his generation: prodigiously gifted, boundlessly curious, fearless, open, astute, articulate. He personally chose the sixty-three representative pictures2 in the series and died in August 1942, a month after completing the set.
 
Masterworks is also the culminating work of traditional Japanese collaborative printmaking. The cutters and printers broke new ground, adopting new technologies like collotype3, and devising new techniques to translate the subtle effects of Seihō’s paintings into effective color woodcuts.

Inadvertently, Masterworks is also an elegy for nearly four hundred years of peace and for the art and beauty that flowed from it. When Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) became shogun after centuries of unrest, he devised an ingenious new system of government to preserve and safeguard peace. He expected it to last for ten thousand years, but the government collapsed soon after the opening of Japan to foreign trade in the 1850s, and brief civil wars were followed by successful military campaigns against China, Korea and Russia at the turn of the century.

The 1930s were a decade of fear in Japan. Military factions used assassination and coups to intimidate civilian politicians, and secret police to control the population. Unsōdō published Seihō’s daring “Pink Fuji” in July 1937. 

"Pink Fuji" (Beni Fuji 紅富士), 1937
Set One, Envelope 2

click on image to enlarge

At certain times of the year the rising sun turns the slopes of Mt. Fuji pink. Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) captured this momentary effect in early impressions of one of his famous landscapes, and Seihō’s green hill echoes the green slope in Hokusai’s print.

Seihō and his cutter and printer all emphasized the brushwork of the dark blue shadow. This is probably another ephemeral effect of morning light, although it also feels strangely foreboding in retrospect, since the Imperial Army invaded China the month the print appeared, setting into inexorable motion the tragic events of the great war that produced nearly three million military and eight hundred thousand civilian casualties, five percent of the entire Japanese population, and left another thirteen million homeless.

“The sadness of things” (mono no aware) is a phrase that Lady Murasaki often used in The Tale of Genji (ca. 1000). Cherry blossoms in full bloom often arouse feelings of sorrow because their beauty is so short-lived: they are “beautiful because they fall,” like young warriors in the flower of their youth who die in battle. Seihō was seventy-six when he drew “Flowers in a Mountain Village” (1940, fig. 65.3). “This moment,” he seems to be saying, “This moment!”

"Flowers in a Mountain Village" (山村の花 Yamamura no hana), 1940
Set Two, Print 5
click on image to enlarge

The words ippin in the [series] title has recently come to mean “masterworks.” In China, the same characters, pronounced yi pin, originally meant “untrammeled freedom” and were applied in the highest praise to exceptional painters. In Japan by the eighteenth century the word had come to suggest painting of deep feeling that looked uncontrived and spontaneous and employed soft washes, delicate gradations of color, and virtuoso brushwork. So another translation of the title might by The Sublime Work of Seihō.

Jack Hillier called this book “one of the most magnificent printing achievements of the twentieth century.” It is also one of the rarest.4 The incendiary raids on Japanese cities in the spring of 1945 burned the printer Shinmi Saburō’s Tokyo studio and destroyed all the blocks for Masterworks. Most of the printed examples must have burned as well. The Chiba City Museum owns a bound set of the first series, but this example of the second series may be unique.  Hillier thought it was never published. Unsōdō has no records of the publication and no example on file. 
 
1 The Spencer Collection surveys the illustrated word and book bindings of all periods and all countries and cultures, from medieval manuscripts, Japanese scrolls, and Indian miniatures to monuments in Renaissance printing, illustration and binding to contemporary livres d'artistes. 
http://www.nypl.org/locations/schwarzman/prints-and-photographs-study-room/spencer-collection
2 While Keyes references "sixty-three representative pictures," a total of sixty-six prints were issued in the two sets of Seihō's Masterpieces.
3 Collotype printing had its first commercial use in Japan in 1889. The collotype process was versatile and could produce high quality images on different types of paper. Collotype prints can be readily identified by the presence of image reticulation, a product of the finely cracked gelatin plate used to print the image, which can be seen under magnification. The size of the reticulation varies from print to print, but cannot be seen by the naked eye. The image can be a variety of colors. Prints made from collotype plates can be either hand printed or printed using a press.
4 Hillier in The Art of the Japanese Book, p. 993, deduces, based on the "normal practice" of the publisher Unsōdō, that no more than one hundred copies of the first ten parts were printed. Nor does he find evidence that any of the "announced" second set of ten parts were ever produced. Of course, we now know that the second set was issued and, in fact, resides in the New York Public Library's Spencer Collection
and the collection of Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.  The Rijksmuseum lists 60 prints in their collection, with 29 bound into one volume (RP-P-2005-614) and 31 into a second volume (RP-P-2005-615). They go on to note "the prints mounted in the two albums are not in order of the original date of issue." The Rijksmuseum also lists another album, RP-P-2001-21, containing prints from the series. It is described as: "32 sheets: first sheet, introduction; 31 prints of Takeuchi Seiho; in dark blue cover with title."  This description suggests it is an album comprised of the 31 prints and preface that comprise Set One.
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