Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/134

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52

Japanese Colour-Prints

initiative of the contemporary Shoguns, who were interested in all artistic progress. It was not until the nineteenth century that the custom of printing books with movable characters was revived.[1]

Side by side with these we find, at an early date, the illustrated sheets (broadsides), which merely catered for a popular demand, and must not be brought into immediate connection with the later artistic wood-engravings. The Jaekel Collection in Greifswald contains a single-sheet print in large folio of the year 1615, in black and white, representing the overthrow of Hideyori and the burning of his castle in Osaka, with small but well-drawn and spirited figures. In the same collection is a battle-picture with the names of the commanders, &c., intended for a fan. Somewhat later court scenes were represented in a style which already marks the transition to that of Moronobu and which are coloured, especially the faces, with body-colour, quite after the manner of the contemporary miniatures, being thus meant as substitutes for these miniatures, as they were easier, and therefore cheaper, to produce. Specimens are to be found in the Jaekel Collection. To this style also belongs a large broadside folio sheet by Baisetsudo (Jaekel Collection), done soon after 1700, a very spirited rendering of the eight views of Nara.

The illustrated books, whose first appearance dates from the sixties of the seventeenth century, already show greater powers of representation, and prepare us for the development which was brought about by the activity of Moronobu and which elevated the Japanese woodcut to the level of a true work of art. As specimens of this transition period we may, following Duret, instance: Soga monogatari, 1663, twelve volumes with 102 pictures (a new edition in 1704); Eiri valkakusa monogatari (Yedo, 1667), three volumes. With the creation at

  1. Brinckmann, p. 217 ff.