Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/241

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THE POLYCHROME PRINT

107

The following list shows how original are many of his other productions:—

  • A child playing with a tortoise, which it is trying to submerge in a bowl of water.
  • Five children playing with a rat.
  • A child struggling with a polyp.
  • Kintoki blowing the flute (Berlin Kunstgewerbemuseum).
  • Young women standing on a balcony at sunset.
  • Two young women on a balcony lighted by red lanterns, looking down upon a throng of people who are trying to shelter themselves from the rain under a large umbrella.

Strange reproduces, on page 32, a young man holding on his shoulder a young girl, who is trying to set a striking clock.

The cause of the discoloration of the orange-red containing lead, which occurs more frequently with Koriusai than any one else, has been attributed to artificial oxidising, and also to the application of black by means of the ball of the thumb; but it is probably the usual entirely unintentional oxidising of a not very permanent colour, as the manner in which this black appears and the way it passes over into the red has every appearance of being due to accidental variations, according to the degree of thickness with which it was laid on. Just herein lies the inimitable charm of colour that attaches to these prints. In the surimono-like animal designs, which were executed with great care, this peculiarity is not found, obviously because better colours have been employed. Similar changes may be noticed in other much-faded prints of this period, which, after they have been long exposed to the light, have sometimes scarcely a trace of colour left, but for this very reason have charmed our painters in the highest degree. Though such a predilection may attest an almost morbid over-refinement of the human mind, still it has a certain justification, and may even,