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JAPANESE WOOD ENGRAVINGS

conspicuous the deficiencies of the engraver. It was not until the middle of the next century the use of colour in printing became at all worthy of a people so richly gifted with the colour sense.

A somewhat later work in the same collection is the Jokio hiden (1629), a pictorial mirror of instruction for girls. It shows no advance upon the Hogen Monogatari, and is of interest only as the first of the series of moral stories for the guidance of the young, that afterwards had considerable vogue. Illustrated volumes of this type were issued in considerable numbers; and the cheap pictorial novelette, the Kusa-zoshi, of which more will be said, made its first appearance about the middle of the seventeenth century.

As a whole this second period was not one of great achievement in wood engraving. The cuts in the Isé Monogatari and its successors were inferior to the contemporary work in Europe, and not in advance of that of China and Korea; but the publication of printed and illustrated books on subjects of popular interest was a movement full of promise–a promise that was well realised in after years.

Third Period.

The Third Period, extending from 1680 to 1710, was essentially that of artistic book illustration, and the hero of this term was a dyer’s draughtsman, afterwards a noted painter, named Hishigawa Moronobu. It is he who must be regarded as the important figure in the new popular school of pictorial art, for although the reputed founder of the “Passing World” pictures (Ukiyo-yé), the painter Iwasa Matahei, had some decades before set the example of abandoning the worn-out classical themes, in favour of representations of the life and customs of his time, it was only through the engraver that the new departure could be brought adequately before the eyes of the masses. It was Moronobu who first showed the possibilities of book illustration, and developed the series of albums or collection of pictures, which under Nishigawa Sukénobu, Tachibana Morikuni, Hokusai, and others were to play such an important part in educating the public eye and mind. He also illustrated novels, topographical works, poems, and other classes of literature; but it was in revealing how faithfully and boldly the work of