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Symbol No. 2


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Symbol No. 2 (象徴)

by Maki Haku, 1957

Print 1 from the series Very Popular Story. Event for Prints. Rainbow glass. Then, Mr. Ay-o got drunk by the Rainbow.

IHL Cat. #2050

About This Print

Source: Yale University Art Gallery website https://artgallery.yale.edu/collections/objects/110323

"Maki Haku is known for using the established tradition of calligraphy and abstracting kanji characters—the Chinese ideographs that are used in Japanese writing—into quirky images. At first glance, the top portion of this print seems ambiguous; some may see a twirling figure holding round bells. In fact, the figure is the character for gaku/raku (樂), meaning “music” and “enjoyment.” The etymology of gaku comes from the word for a hand instrument with bells and ornamental strings that was shaken to make music for the enjoyment of the gods. When the bells were not in use, they were hung on wooden stands (as represented by the 木 character, meaning “tree,” which appears at the bottom of the gaku/raku character)."

Two Other "Symbol" Prints

Symbol No 1, 1957
image: 9.4 x 13.2 in. (24 x 33.5 cm)
image source: Artelino website Item 17880

Symbol No 3, 1957
image: 12 3/8 x 16 in. (31.5 x 40.7 cm)
image source: Minneapolis Institute of Art 91.112.32

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2050
 Title or Description Symbol No. 2 (象徴 Shōchō)
 Maki Haku (1924-2000)
巻白 Maki Haku 
巻 and 白  Maki and Haku
 Publication Date 1957
 Publisher International Graphic Arts Society
 Edition 177/200
 Carver self-carved
 Printer self-printed
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre sosaku-hanga (creative print)
 H x W Paper 19 9/16 x 15 1/4 in. (49.7 x 38.7 cm)
 H x W Image 17 x 12 7/16 in. (43.2 x 31.6 cm) 
 Collections This Print Museum of Modern Art, 64.1959; Philadelphia Museum of Art 1959-51-15; Yale University Art Museum 2009.215.14; Albion College 1963.070
 Reference Literature The Life and Works of Haku Maki, Daniel Tretiak, Outskirt Press, Inc., 2007, p. 35.
last revision:
5/28/2021 created