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Mon Kamban from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Mon Kamban 紋看板

(Crest signboards)

from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater

by Adachi Ginkō, 1897

Jobiraki from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater

IHL Cat. #764

About This Print

Source: The British Museum http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=781197&partid=1&searchText=adachi+ginko&fromADBC=ad&toADBC=ad&numpages=10&orig=%2fresearch%2fsearch_the_collection_database.aspx&currentPage=2
This print, part of a series of twenty-five prints (plus a prolog/index print)  picturing events in a typical year in an Edo theater, depicts signboards giving the names and crests of the actors who will appear at the theater that season.

About This Series

Ōedo Shibai Nenjū Gyōji drawn by Adachi Ginko [with two prints contributed by Torii Kiyosada (1844-1901)] is a set of twenty-six prints (including an index page), depicting the manners and customs relating to Kabuki plays/theaters in the Saruwaka-chō, the Kabuki theater district which flourished until 1867, the first year of the Meiji Era. The Ritsumeikan Art Research Center posits that this series was issued in response to the public's "remarkable nostalgia for Edo period, the 'Great Tokugawa Epoch'."  It goes on to say that this series is a continuation of the many earlier Kabuki theater guidebooks which "introduce[d] not only about things on a stage but also properties, organization of theatres and backstage."  

At least two editions of this series were released.  One edition, likely an earlier edition, contains the publisher's name, Hasegawa  Sumi, and associated publishing and printing information along the left margin.  This earlier edition, with the publishing information, is often found bound into volumes, with the margins of the prints trimmed back. My guess is that these bound volumes were created by the publisher. Later edition prints all have an embossed border around the entire image which is not present on the earlier edition and have wider margins. It is possible that the later edition prints were sold by subscription.

To view the entire series go to this collection's print Title Page from the series Annual Events of the Edo Theater.

Differences Between the Two Editions

1. All earlier edition prints contain the publishing and printing information, including dates, along the left margin.  In the later edition of prints  only the Index/Prologue print contains any publishing information, with the publishing house 長谷川 板 (Hasegawa han), proceeded by the publisher's address, embossed in the lower left corner.   No date is given on this print or any other later edition prints.
2. Most earlier edition prints contain the artist's signature and/or seal.  Later editions do not carry the artist's signature or seal.
3. All later edition prints contain an approximately 1/2" wide embossed border around the entire image area not present on the earlier edition.
4. Some later edition prints may have had the original blocks reworked.

Earlier Edition of This Print

The below print contains the publishing and printing information along the left margin that is absent from this collection's print.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description  Mon Kanban 紋看板 (Crest signboards)
 Series  Annual Events of the Edo Theatre
 Ō-Edo shibai nenjū-gyōji 大江戸しばゐねんぢうぎやうじ
 Artist  Adachi Ginkō (active 1874 – 1897)
 Signature  unsigned
 Seal  no seal
 Publication Date  1897 (Meiji 30)
 Hasegawa Sumi 長谷川 寿美 [Publisher seal is not present on this print]
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 condition  good - full size; not backed; soiling, primarily in margins; wrinkling
 Genre  ukiyo-e
 Miscellaneous  an approximately 1/2" wide embossed pattern surrounds the image area
 Format  vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 17 3/8 x 11 1/4 in. (44.1 x 28.6 cm)
 H x W Image
 14 5/8 x 9 1/2 in. (37.1 x 24.1 cm) including embossed area around the image
 Collections This Print
 British Museum 1983,0523,0.3.19; The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-0704 and 201-0704; Museum of Fine Arts Boston RES.53.42; National Diet Library 1309619; Edo-Tokyo Museum (Tokyo Digital Museum 91970054); Tokyo Metropolitan Library 577-010-19ア; Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University AcNo.国会456-00-019;cNo.arcUP2058