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Dormitory in Spring Rain from the Album of Beauties by Kyokata

Fan design sample print, Kneeling Nudes

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Dormitory in Spring Rain 春雨の寮

from the Album of Beauties by Kiyokata

by Kaburaki Kiyokata, 1914

Fan design sample print, Kneeling Nudes

IHL Cat. #1815

About This Print

From an album of twelve small prints of bijinga by Kaburaki issued in 1914.  This print depicting a young maikoidentified by her red collar, walking in the rain is one of four woodblock prints in the album.  Each of the four woodblock prints in the album is likely an original design by Kiyokata for the album.

A maiko's ensemble features a distinctive collar (eri) that is hand-sewn on the nagajuban for each wearing.  These red collars tell a story in and of themselves.  They are made from silk that has been finely embroidered with white, silver, and gold thread.  The younger one is the less dense the embroidery and the more visible the red of the silk.  As one matures, the applique becomes heavier until little red (a symbol of childhood) can be seen.  The progression continues until the day one "turns one's collar" from maiko to geiko and begins to wear a white collar instead or a red one.1
The Artist's Notes
The album includes explanations in Japanese by Kiyokata about his intentions and drawing techniques for each of the prints.  His notes on this print are reproduced below.

About the Album of Beauties by Kiyokata 清方美人画譜, 1914

This album of twelve small prints, four woodblock prints and eight three-color collotypes, was issued in May 1914 by Nihon Bijutsu Gakuin 日本美術学院, the correspondence fine arts school founded by the novelist Taguchi Kikutei (1875-1943) (the pen name of Taguchi Kyōjirō), and for which Kiyokata taught. Each print was attached along its top edge to a backing sheet approximately 10 x 7 1/4 in. (25.6 x 18.4 cm) which contained the print's title.

It is likely that the four woodblock prints in the album were original designs by Kiyokata2 and that the eight collotypes were reproductions of existing paintings on silk.  However, I could only confirm an existing painting for the print titled Nozakimura (Nozaki Village), which depicts a scene from the play of the same name.  

The eight non-woodblock prints are listed in the album's table of contents as 原色版 genshokuban, "tri-color printing."  In looking at these prints under a magnifying glass, they display the reticulated pattern (see below detail) associated with collotypes, a type of lithography particularly suited for the reproduction of watercolor effects and for reproducing Japanese-style paintings.

Detail of reticulated pattern in the album's print titled Early Summer Rain  五月雨
IHL Cat. #1820

In addition to the twelve prints, the album includes an eighteen page pamphlet with explanations in Japanese by Kiyokata about his intentions and drawing techniques for each of the prints, a table of contents and colophon.  The notes for each of the ten prints from the album in The Lavenberg Collection are reproduced on the page for that print.

The colophon provides the price of the portfolio as 定價 金壹圓參拾錢 (fixed price: 1 yen 30 sen gold).  This is the rough equivalent of 35-40 U.S. dollars today.

The names of the twelve prints and my translations into English of those names and the printing method for each print are shown in the below table, followed by thumbnails of each of the twelve prints along with their overall print (paper) dimensions.  A copy of the original album's table of contents and colophon follows the thumbnails.  The table of contents and colophon are reproduced from the website of the Freer/Sackler Archives of the Smithsonian Institution.  For reproductions of the entire album please go to their website at  https://pulverer.si.edu/node/431/title/1.

 Title as provided in the table of contents Title Translated Printing Method
[木版刷 woodblock or
原色版 tricolor printing (lithography/collotype)]
 幕合Intermission woodblock
 野崎村 Nozakimura (Nozaki Village) tricolor
 五月雨Early Summer Rain  tricolor
 午後の海 Afternoon Sea  tricolor
春雨の寮 Dormitory in Spring Rain  woodblock
春のいでゆ  Hotspring in Springtime tricolor 
 白壁White Wall  tricolor
 靑き星Deep Blue Sky  woodblock
 初雪First Snow   tricolor
 湖のほとり Beside the Lake tricolor
 濱町河岸の秋 Hamamachi Riverbank in Autumn woodblock
 島田くづしShimadakuzushi  tricolor

8 1/4 x 5 7/8 in. 
(21 x 14.9 cm)
8 x 5 1/8 in.
(20.3 x 13 cm)
Early Summer Rain
5 1/2 x 8 in.
(14 x 20.3 cm)
Afternoon Sea
7 9/16 x 5 9/16 in.
(19.2 x 14.1 cm)

Dormitory in Spring Rain
8 1/8 x 4 15/16 in.
(20.6 x 12.5 cm)
IHL Cat. #1815

Hotspring in Springtime
7 9/16 x 5 9/16 in.
(19.2 x 14.1 cm)

White Wall
8 x 5 3/8 in.
(20.3 x 13.7 cm)
Deep Blue Sky
 7 3/4 x 5 3/16 in.
(19.7 x 13.2 cm)

First Snow
8 5/16 x 3 1/4 in.
(21 x 8.3 cm)

Beside the Lake
8 x 5 5/16 in.
(20.3 x 13.5 cm)

Hamamachi Riverbank in Autumn
7 5/8 x 5 in. 
(19.4 x 12.8 cm)
7 7/16 x 5 5/8 in.
(18.9 x 14.3 cm)

table of contents
Kiyokata bijin gafu meidai
click on image to enlarge
click on image to enlarge

1 Geisha: A Life, Mineko Iwasaki, Washington Square Press, 2002, p. 153.
2 "Kuchi-e by Kaburagi Kiyokata", Robert Vergez appearing in Ukiyo-e Geijutsu, Issue 100, Japan Ukiyo-e Society, 1991.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1815
 Title or Description
[as printed on page the album print was tipped ton]

 Dormitory in Spring Rain (also seen translated as "Charm of Spring Rain")
 Series Album of Beauties by Kiyokata
 清方美人画譜 Kiyokata bijin gafu
 Kaburaki Kiyokata (1878-1972)
Kiyokata 清方 
 Seal Kiyokata 清方 oval seal (see above)
 Publication Date
Printed April 30, 1914 大正三年四月三十日印刷
Published May 5, 1914 大正三年五月五日發行
[as shown in the colophon to the album]
 Edition first and only

 發行者copied from colophon 著作
copied from colophon
Publisher: Taguchi Kyōjirō 田口鏡次郎 [note: Taguchi Kyōjirō (1875-1943) wrote under the pen name Taguchi Kikutei.]
Publishing house: Nihon Bijutsu Gakuin 日本美術学院

copied from colophon
copied from colophon
 Printer: unread 一噌定次郎
 Printing house: Nihon Bijutsu Gakuin printing department 日本美術学院印刷部

 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre shin hanga (new prints)
 Format chuban
 H x W Paper 8 1/8 x 4 15/16 in. (20.6 x 12.5 cm)
 H x W Image 7 3/4 x 4 9/16 in. (19.7 x 11.6 cm) 
 Collections This Print Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution S2003.8.400 and FSC-GR-780.134; British Museum 1991,0805,0.18; National Diet Library Call No. 109-280
 Reference Literature