Beginning of Wood-Engraving
figures on fans. Musachi no tsuki (the moon in the province of Musachi) shows us a series of female figures, in black and white (Berlin, Kunstgewerbemuseum). Bing (Catalogue, No. 76) mentions some further sheets.
With Masanobu, too, begins naturalistic landscape, which attained its full development during the second half of the century. Besides small sheets, he now also produced large ones with single figures, or with populous interiors, such as had quite gone out of use since Moronobu's time. He reached his highest pinnacle, however, in the two-colour sheets, which he produced (partly with blind printing) between 1743–50; they are mostly compositions in three parts, with single figures or groups, and sometimes have an architecturally disposed background, in which the beauty of his grouping and the precision of his draughtsmanship are peculiarly evident. These two-colour prints were, like the hand-coloured black and white work, known as beni-ye, because the same red was used in both. But hand-coloured work continued to be produced along with them for some time longer, and even attained to its peculiar development about 1750, as is proved by several sheets of Masanobu which Fenollosa (Outline) assigns to this very period. In these his best days, when his figures were becoming rather longer and more elegant, he also produced his finest kakemonos. According to Bing he also turned out three-colour prints and might therefore be numbered among the inventors of that species.
The following is a list of other works by him, all hand-coloured black and white prints, unless otherwise stated:—
Long female figures, on large sheets, suggesting the work of Kwaigetsudo; young woman standing, playing with a cat; the three chief towns (Yedo, Kioto, Osaka) symbolised by three women, a large sheet; tiger crouching at the foot of a bamboo tree, worked out of a black ground; pheasant on branch of plum-tree; a book with double-page pictures of medium size,