The Mad Woman of Yawata (keyblock proof)
(Yawata/Yahata no kyojo)
kuchi-e (frontispiece) for the novel The Mad Woman of Yawata by Hirotsu Ryuro, published in vol. 7, no. 94 Bungei Kurabu (popular literary magazine), signed with artist's seal Toshikata, ca. 1901
9 5/8 by 13 1/4 in., 24.3 by 33.5 cm
This scene illustrates the moment in the story when Okane, feigning madness, cries on the spot where her murdered father's body was found.
Keyblock proofs were produced for multiple purposes: in traditional woodblock print production the black outline proofs were likely used to actually make the color blocks- subsequently destroying the proof while carving the block. As such, keyblock proofs from the 18th and 19th century are relatively unusual, and often those that have survived are from obscure designs that never made into production. However, by the 20th century, collectors became more appreciative of all of the nuances of woodblock print production, and occasionally keyblock proofs (or cancelled keyblock proofs) were made available to sell along with the prints themselves. At the same time, the process of developing a print for production had changed somewhat: prints were often based on completed paintings, as opposed to designs made expressly for woodblock prints.
Nanako Yamada, Mokuhan Kuchi-e (Survey of Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints), 2006, p. 347
Honolulu Museum of Art, object no. 27281
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, no. JP 3288 (Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1959)
(inv. no. C-1806)
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays, 11am - 5pm, by appointment.
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit.
site last updated
February 24, 2020
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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