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Landscape with village and two women

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 


by Takehisa Yumeji, undated

(after an earlier 1915 design)

The Rising Moon from the series A Collection of Takehisa Yumeji's Pictures in Woodblock Print

IHL Cat. #942

About This Print

This undated and untitled print, likely issued post-WWII, is after a small woodblock print which originally appeared in Takehisa Yumeji's 1915 book of poetry titled Samisen-kusa (Shamisen Leaves), published by the Tokyo publisher Shinchōsha.  The original print appeared as the last of six small woodblock prints bound into the book.  The publisher of this collection's  print is unknown.  The title commonly assigned to this print is, not surprisingly, Fireworks (花火).

The Book, Samisen-kusa



The entire book can be found in the archive of Waseda University Library http://archive.wul.waseda.ac.jp/kosho/bunko03a/bunko03a_00548/bunko03a_00548.html

The six woodblock prints in the book

Source: Modern Japanese Prints 1912-1989, Lawrence Smith, British Museum Press, 1994, p. 51.

This immensely popular book typified the melancholy view of fragilely beautiful women which was Yumeji's special contribution to the culture of the Taisho era (1912-26) and which helped establish the atmosphere of the period. The six individual small-scale woodblock prints bound into the volume are not major pieces, but the cumulative effect of the book, which also includes many illustrations in line process, collotype and halftone, is significant. All are of young geishas and other professional female players of the samisen, a three-stringed instrument plucked by ivory plectra, which had been the most used instrument in popular entertainment since its introduction from the Ryukyu Islands in the seventeenth century. All the illustrations are after Yumeji's paintings or sketches, and the selection of poems was also made by him. These are ko-uta, short romantic songs sung to a samisen accompaniment. Yumeji writes in the preface 'This volume is dedicated to the young women of the land where the samisen blooms with cherry blossom'. The volume was published by Satō Yoshikatsu at Shinchōsha, Tokyo.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #942
 Title  Fireworks (花火)
 Series  originally appeared in the poetry book Samisen-kusa
 Takehisa Yumeji (1884-1934)
 Seal  not sealed
 Publication Date  Originally 1915, this edition unknown but likely after WWII
 Edition  see above
 Publisher  unknown
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent
 Genre  fukusei hanga
 H x W Paper  6 x 4 1/8 in. (15.2 x 10.5 cm)
 H x W Image  5 3/4 x 3 7/8 in. (14.6 x 9.8 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Reference Literature