Beginning of Wood-Engraving
volumes, contains thirteen simple outline illustrations (Gillot Catalogue).
Next, in 1608, appeared a collection of romances of love and chivalry, composed in the tenth century, known by the title of Ise Monogatari, and now first embellished with woodcut illustrations, forty-eight in number. So early as 1610 a second edition of this work appeared. The pictures, in the style of the Tosa school, are still quite conventional, and display but slight effort at individualisation; the cutting imitates the Chinese method and is handled with but moderate care. In 1626 appeared the Hogen Monogatari, with still cruder woodcuts. Neither is the Jokio Hiden of 1629, a school book for girls, any better. Another book to appear in 1626 was the Maiji Monogatari, two volumes, in the manner of the Tosa school, coloured (Duret Catalogue, as also the following). Takatachi appeared about 1630, and Nichiren shonin chugwasan, stories from the life of the priest Nichiren, with eighty-nine pictures, in 1632 (Gillot Catalogue).
The following may be mentioned as belonging to the end of the seventeenth century: the illustrations by Hasegawa Toun in the Yehon Hokan, a collection of legends of the year 1688; those by Ishikawa Riusen in the Yamato Kosaku gwasho, an annual of Japanese customs, about the same time; collections of views, as for example of Itsukushima and environs, in 1689; Tokiwagi, a collection of cloth patterns, in 1700; also works on the arrangement of flowers, on uniforms, on sword-blades, all illustrated. In all these books the text, as well as the illustrations, is cut on the block. In fact, printing with movable characters can be shown to have existed in Japan only for a short time, from the end of the sixteenth century to about 1629, and even then only as an exception, probably to be traced to the immediate
- Duret, p. 33; Douglas, Japanese Illustrated Books, No. 2.
- Anderson, Japanese Wood-Engraving, No. 5.