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Kyōsai hyakuzu, A Fruit-bearing Tree is Known From Its Flowers, Fighting Like Dogs and Monkeys (Mi no naru ki wa hana kara shireru, Inu to saru)

 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

A Fruit-bearing Tree is Known From Its Flowers,

Fighting Like Dogs and Monkeys

(Mi no naru ki wa hana kara shireru, Inu to saru)

from the series Kyōsai Hyakuzu

by Kawanabe Kyōsai, c. 1863-1866


IHL Cat. #467

About this Print and the Series Kyōsai Hyakuzu


The Print
There are two proverbs being illustrated in this print.  On the top is written Mi no naru ki wa hana kara shireru (A fruit-bearing tree is known by its flowers.)  The book Japanese Proverbs and Sayings states that this "saying teaches that a man who is destined to be a great person shows promise even in his youth."1  The bottom inscription reads Inu to saru (Fighting Like Dogs and Monkeys).  I haven't a clue how either of these relate to each other.

1 Japanese Proverbs and Sayings, Daniel Crump Buchanan, University of Oaklahoma Press,1987, p. 156.

The earlier c. 1863-1866 edition by Waksaya is on the right and this collection's later c. 1880s Ōkura edition on the left.


The Series
Source: Comic Genius: Kawanabe Kyōsai, Oikawa Shigeru, Clark Timothy and Forrer Matthi, Tokyo Shinbun, 1996, p. 206.
This print was issued as part of the series the Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyōsai) which consists of more than 200 pictorializations of proverbs and depictions of famous subjects unrelated to proverbs. The prints were published continuously from 1863 to 1866* by the publisher Wakasaya and the works were later reprinted in album form by the publisher Ōkura Magobei (Ōkuraya) in 1881 and 1886.  The prints in this collection are likely from one of Ōkura Magobei's reprint editions, as they show evidence of having been removed from an album. 

One hundred of the proverbs depicted in Kyōsai hyakuzu were translated into French in 1885 under the titleCent Proverbes Japonais by Francis Steenackers and Ueda Tokunosuke.

This print series was very popular, enhancing Kyōsai's reputation and making a large profit for the publishers.

*1863-1866 are the most common publication dates provided for these prints, though the literature cites dates as early as 1862 for the first publication date and reprints of this series are still being made.  The prints were first issued by publisher Wakasaya Yoichi (aka Jakurindō Yoichi) as single-sheet prints, sold in ten print packages in a decorative envelope.  Ōkura Magobei (aka Yorozuya Magobei) re-published the prints in bound book/album form in the 1880s.


Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #467
 Title or Description  A Fruit-bearing Tree is Known From Its Flowers, Fighting Like Dogs and Monkeys
 実のなる木は 花からしれる 犬とさ
 Mi no naru ki wa hana kara shireru, Inu to saru 
 Artist  Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
 Series  Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyosai)
 Signature
ōju Seisei Kyōsai 応需惺々狂斎
 Seal (of the artist)  unread (shown above beneath signature)
 Publication Date  likely c. 1880s (originally c. 1863-1866)
 Publisher
Ōkura Magobei - originally issued by Wakasaya Yoichi and then reprinted in book form by Ōkura Magobei
seal reading 大倉版 Ōkurahan
 Engraver
 
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent - original album backing
 Genre  ukiyo-e; giga (comic print)
 Miscellaneous  
 Format  koban [vertical yotsugiri (quarter ōban)]
 H x W Paper
 7 1/8 x 4 3/4 in. (18.1 x 12.1 cm)
 Collections
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.22638
 Reference Literature
 
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