Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/330

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JAPANESE COLOUR-PRINTS

  • printed in 2 vols., 8vo, for New Year's Day, 1804, one vol. of 12, one of 11 sheets, rich in figures and full of life, but somewhat sombre in colour. Some copies are printed in black and white; as the impressions in these appear much more delicate, Kurth (Utamaro, p. 124) conjectures that the black and white prints formed the first edition, the later issue being coloured to disguise the defects in the blocks. The work was executed with the aid of his pupils, Kikumaro, Hidemaro, and Takimaro. Text by Jippensha Ichiku. The title of the first volume, with a border of an apple twig in blossom and a red camellia, contains the verses of Sandarahoshi: "O pealing bell of morning dawn, didst thou feel the sadness of parting, gladly wouldst thou lie rather than re-echo the six strokes." The title-page of the second volume likewise depicts flowers. The border of the index represents the outer gate of the Yoshiwara. For the description of the single sheets, see Goncourt, page 72 ff. Reproductions in Bing's Catalogue.[1]

Books pertaining to natural history:—

  • Momochidori kioka awase, the hundred little screamers (birds), the first edition (dating from the tenth decade?) with 8 double sheets; the second in two volumes with fifteen illustrations. One of the most beautiful polychrome books; blind printing is put to excellent use, e.g., in case of the parts of the bodies of animals that are in water. The ducks, pigeons, cranes, and herons are excellent.
  • Mushiyerabi, selected insects, 2 vols., with 15 double plates and a title-page, 1788 (illustrated in Gonse, p. 265). With an epilogue by his teacher, Sekiyen. The contours are not black, but in the colours of the objects represented.
  • Shiohi no tsuto, memento of the ebb-tide (poems on shell-fish), 8

  1. Yoshiwara, the courtesan quarter of Yedo, was founded in 1600 by Shoji Jinyemon near the palace of the Shoguns. After the great fire of 1657, it was changed to its present site in the northern part of the city and surrounded by moats. A single gateway forms the entrance to this quarter, which is divided into many parts by intersecting streets. The tea-houses are situated along the main thoroughfare. In the "Green Houses" lived the courtesans, who had received the most perfect education, like princesses, and spoke a peculiar, old-fashioned language. Each one of these Oirans had two young attendants, Kamuros; as soon as these reached a certain age, they, too, were promoted to the rank of Oiran. The Geishas (playing and singing girls) formed an entirely different class and were obliged to live an honourable life.