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Ex Libris, Nanban Dining

Thistle from the book Nihon no Hana

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Ex Libris, Nanban Dining

by Kawakami Sumio, c. 1950s

Kawakami Sumio (1895-1972)

IHL Cat. #2024

About This Print

Like a number of other sōsaku-hanga artists (see Ex Libris, Various by Maekawa Senpan (1888-1960)), Kawakami created numerous bookplates for collectors. In this ex libris 蔵書票 created for the collector S. Kagayama, we see five Nanban gentlemen seated around a table eating and drinking, as they're being waited upon.  Kawakami was fascinated by Nanban (southern barbarians, i.e., Portuguese) culture, producing many woodblock prints on the subject.

Ex Libris and the Sōsaku Hanga Movement
Source: Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints - The Early YearsHelen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, p. 272.

Early in the sōsaku-hanga movement both bookplates and New Year cards became popular. These required small designs and appealed to those who did not feel competent to handle large blocks. They were, however, also produced by major artists.

...[T]he modern enthusiasm for bookplates is traceable to Europe, as indicated by the Japanese use of the Latin term "ex libris." The European revival of bookplates [in the late 19th century] spread to Japan through an article by Emil Orlik in Myōjō in 1900 during his stay in Japan.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2024
 Title untitled 
 Series n/a
 Sumio Kawakami 川上澄生 (1895-1972)
 not signed
 not sealed
 Publication Date not dated, but similar works dated to c. 1950s
 Edition unknown
 Publisher commissioned by the collector
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent 
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative print)
 H x W Paper 3 9/16 x 3 in. (9 x 7.6 cm)
 H x W Image 2 15/16 x 2 1/4 in. (7.5 x 5.7 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Reference Literature 
last revision:
created 2/15/2019