Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/144

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development, attained in Japan a far greater significance than ever fell to its lot in Europe. It is in the high perfection of just this branch of artistic reproduction, attained in no other land and no other period, that the chief value of Japanese wood-engraving lies.

Before we enter in detail upon the history of this development, it will be well to say what there is to say of that special group of wood-engravings which were not produced from drawings especially made for them, but reproduce the designs of celebrated artists, whether in facsimile or in simple outline, and which were generally executed long after the death of the artists themselves.

There are in this class, first of all, a series of collections of faithful copies after celebrated paintings of antiquity, which appeared in the course of the seventeenth century. These are:[1]

  • Gwashi kwaiyo, 6 vols. 1707, then 1754.
  • Yehon tekagami, 6 vols. 1720.
  • Gako senran, 6 vols., octavo. Osaka, 1740. With a genealogical table of the Kano school. A very beautifully executed work.
  • Wakan meigwayen, 6 vols. 1749.

Anderson, in Japanese Wood-Engravings p. 40, traces the reproductions of the above works to Ooka Shunboku, a member of the Kano school. He died about 1760, at the age of eighty-four. Gwahin, three volumes of reproductions of old pictures (1760), and the Gwahon hiroika, signed Seshosai (Osaka, 1751), are also the work of Ooka Shunboku.

This undertaking was continued by Sakurai Shuzan in the following works:—

  • Wakan meihitsu gwayei. 1750.
  • Gwaho. 1764.
  • Wakan meihitsu kingioku gwafu. 1771.
  • Gwasoku. 1777.

  1. Anderson Cat., p. 341.