Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/179

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BEGINNING OF WOOD-ENGRAVING

75

celebrated artists, whose names were similarly formed, do not appear until long after—Kiyomitsu, about the middle of the century; and Kiyonaga, the most perfect representative of Japanese wood-engraving, towards the end of the century. (Oku-) (mura­) (Masa-) (nobu)

Beside this Torii school of the first period, and especially beside Kiyonobu II., stands Okumura Masanobu, whose life extended from 1685 to 1764, and who claims a special place by himself. He was also a publisher, and signed with the names Bunkaku, Kwammio, Tanchosai, also Genzoku, as well as with his real name.[1] He differs from the Torii in so far that, as a direct pupil of Moronobu and following his style more closely, he seldom produced actor prints, but devoted himself instead to the glorification of feminine charm and beauty; and in the end, his innate sense of grace and pleasing composition enabled him to bring the style of this early period to a perfection and finish not again equalled until the easier mastery of Kiyonaga.

Masanobu's life falls into two clearly separated divisions, the boundary between them being formed by the second half of the thirties. At first he seems, as did his teacher, Moronobu, to have produced in the main book-illustrations (yehons), in black and white. Anderson (Catalogue, p. 338) cites several of them, among them a work which treats of beautiful women (bijin). The dates which he gives extend from 1690 to 1720, but the first of these (1690) is obviously much too early. In the Hayashi Catalogue (No. 1457 seqq.) Masanobu's illustrated books do not begin until 1703, and then follow some of 1706 and 1707. Single sheets coloured with tan are assigned by the Tokio Catalogue (No. 54 seqq.) to about 1710 and 1712. Fenollosa (Outline, pl. iv.) reproduces a hand-coloured actor of about

  1. In the first edition, 1751-52 had been given as the date of his death, on the authority of Fenollosa (Cat., Nos. 18-20, 36, 41, 48, 53-55, 66, 77). The biography of Masanobu has now assumed a very different aspect in the light of the above dates, which are taken from the Hayashi Cat., and in consequence of the separation of the two Kiyonobus from each other.