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JAPANESE WOOD ENGRAVINGS

imaginary, like the women of Utamaro, or modelled upon stage impersonations, adjusted to the tastes of an audience from which, unfortunately, all the representatives of culture and gentle birth were excluded by the social law of the age.

This period in the history of wood-engraving fell below that which it succeeded, despite the valuable legacies bequeathed by Hokusai,

Japanese Wood Engravings-1895-075.jpg

Fig. 28.—Scene near Yedo. From an engraving after Hiroshigé. In the É-hon Yedo Meisho.

Settan, Yósai, and Hiroshigé, and with it the spirit that inspired these men seem to pass away; for, from its closing years, the single sheet colour prints were becoming a very nightmare to the sensitive eye, and the albums of miscellaneous sketches, the pictorial handbooks of the towns and provinces, the vigorously illustrated novels; in fact, everything that formed the delight of the xylographic collector came almost suddenly to an end. It would not, however, be difficult for those who