Mizuno Toshikata, 1866-1908
Preparatory Drawing of 'Looking at Chrysanthemums' (Kikumi) kuchi-e
sumi ink on transluscent paper, with notations regarding the color on her obi, kodai murasaki (ancient purple), and on the diamond pattern of her sleeve ima murasaki (present purple), with shading inside one of the diamonds with note shiro roku (white six), unsigned, ca. 1902
kuchi-e 9 5/8 by 13 1/8 in., 24.3 by 33.3 cm
This preparatory drawing relates to a kuchi-e (frontispiece) print for a novel in Bungei Kurabu (Literary Club) magazine, vol. 8, no. 12 published in 1902. The notations regardng the colors would have helped the carver prepare the correct number of blocks, as well as the printer when he was coloring the blocks. The instruction to use shiro roku (white six) was likely mutually understood amongst the artisans to refer to any number of white pigments such as lead white, titanium white, zinc white, traditional Japanese gofun (ground calcified oyster shells), or European Chinese White (which is similar to gofun but prepared in a different way).
Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture, 2000, plate 6.17, and cover
Nanako Yamada, Mokuhan Kuchi-e (Survey of Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints), 2006, p. 247
(inv. no. C-1800)
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