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CHIKANOBU, Yoshu (1838–1912)

A set of Eight Bust Portraits of Beauties - Jidai Kagami (Mirror of the Ages).

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Toyohara [or Yusho] Chikanobu (1838–1912) was one of the most prolific and successful woodblock print artists of Japan's Meiji period. During his life time the last Tokugawa Shogun stepped aside, and the western-looking Emperor was restored as ruler of the land of the rising sun. Chikanobu worked both with traditional subjects, such as actors, courtesans, beautiful women, and with topical subjects, such as the Satsuma Rebellion (1877) and the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), using the flat planes and decorative patterning of the ukiyo-e tradition to striking effect, adding brilliant colors, especially reds, purples, and blues to his compositions.

More precisely, ukiyo-e [pictures of the floating world], is a genre of woodblock prints and paintings that flourished in Japan's Edo period (1603-1867), and aimed aimed at the prosperous merchant class. Amongst the popular themes were depictions of beautiful women, as is the case here with these okubi-e prints (i.e. bust portraits); kabuki

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A set of 8 oban tate-e woodblock prints of okubi-e (bust portraits) of beauties, titled Jidai kagami (Mirror of the Ages), documenting the fashions of former times (from the Keicho to the Meiji era) in chronological order, each sheet with a beautiful woman in sumptuous costume depicted at the lower section and a rectangular panel at the top which makes a reference to the era, some sheets with lacquer and embossed details, published by Matsuki Heikichi, variously dated Meiji 29, 30 and 31 (1896-8), all signed Yoshu Chikanobu. Each sheet approx. 36 x 23.7 cm (14 1/8in x 9 3/8in). Framed and glazed: 40 by 29 cm.


Stock ID:91688

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