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Barley at Sunrise

Ducks with Flowering Plum

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Barley at Sunrise

by Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1921/1939 (orig. c. 1900)


IHL Cat. #2218

About This Print

One of about fifty kacho-e (bird and flower prints) in the shikishiban (almost square) format. These prints were designed by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927) for the publisher Daikokuya (Matsuki Heikichi) around the turn of the 20th century, who reprinted many of them at a later date, mainly for the export market, such as this collection's print.

Titling this print "Rice Stalks" the authors of The Beauty of Silence comment "Green rice stalks in the foreground contrast a brilliant orange sky at sunset."1 Other sources use the title "Barley at Sunrise", a more accurate descriptive title I believe.

1 The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, p. 151.

Variations of This Design
Barley at Sunrise, ca. 1890-1895
9 1/16 x 8 5/8 in. (23 x 21.9 cm)
Brooklyn Museum 173684
(note: The museum incorrectly attributes the print to "Kogyo Terazaki" the daughter of Tsukioka Kōgyo. Their dating of the print is earlier than given in The Beauty of Silence.)

Barley at Sunrise, 1890s
British Museum

Barley at Sunrise
source unknown

Design in vertical format, signed Kōgyo with Kōhan seal
It is noted in "The Beauty of Silence" that "The left half of the design appears in later printings, which are set in vertical formal, have wide white margins."
An unsigned small vertical formal print
5 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (14 x 8.5 cm)
Artelino Archive

Kōgyo's Shikishiban Kacho-e 

Source: The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, p. 40.

Kōgyo’s oeuvre also comprises some fifty shikishiban prints. While these works include some landscape compositions, most are illustrations of the natural world, a genre referred to as Kachō-e (literally, “flower and bird pictures”). Kōgyo was one of a number of artists who designed such (export) shikishiban. His teacher Gekkō [Ogata Gekkō (1859-1920)], the lacquer artist Shibata Zeshin (1807-91), Ohara Koson [Ohara Koson (1877-1945)], and Yamamoto Shōun can all be counted among the artists enlisted by the Daikokuya to design these compositions. 

Many of these squarish shikishiban prints are thought to have been issued by the Daikokuya, who continually explored new avenues for print subjects and types primarily destined for the export market in the late 19th and early 20th century (a number carry a seal verso reading ‘Made in Japan,” which was required for the export to the United States). 

…Kōgyo’s imaginative designs for this set reflect his keen interest in flower and bird topics. His prints frequently display the same delicate treatment that is so characteristic of the work of Seitei [Watanabe Seitei, 1851-1918].  It must be pointed out, however, that Seitei’s depictions of the natural world seem more realistic. 

Reprints of work from this group are not uncommon. These later editions can be recognized by the black contour lines around the image and the large white borders. They are printed on very thin paper, but they also appear in an edition that is printed on heavier, denser quality paper that one would expect to find with surimono.  

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2218
 Title or Description
 untitled (Barley at Sunrise. Also titled Rice Stalks.)
 Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927)
Kōgyo 耕漁
 Seal of Artist
 Kōhan seal (see above)
 Date 1921/1939 (orig. c. 1900)
 The below stamp on verso carries the inventory number of the publisher along with "MADE IN JAPAN" indicating the print was destined for export to the United States and likely created between 1921, when the specific wording "Made in Japan" (rather than "Made in Nippon", for example) was required for imported goods, until 1939 when imports of Japanese products essentially ceased.
A second inventory number is also stamped verso, as shown below right.

 Publisher attributed to Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya Heikichi 大黒屋平) [Marks: pub. ref. 029]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - toning mainly noticeable verso; attached along margin edges to mat verso 
 Genre ukiyo-e; kacho-e
 Format shikishiban
 H x W Paper 10 7/8 x 11 3/16 in. (27.6 x 28.4 cm)
 H x W Image 9 3/8 x 9 13/16 in. (23.8 x 24.9 cm)
 Collections This Print Brooklyn Museum 173684 (earlier c. 1900 edition); The British Museum 1906,1220,0.167 (earlier c. 1900 edition)
 Reference Literature The Beauty of Silence: Nō and Nature Prints by Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927), Robert Schaap & J. Thomas Rimer, Hotei Publishing, 2010, p. 151.
last update:
12/1/2019 created