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Yamamura Koka

Toyonari, 1885-1942

Maiko (metallic gold on obi)

signed Toyonari ga with oval date seal Taisho kinoe ne (Taisho, year of the rat [1924]), artist's red rectangular seal, Toyonari, on lower left margin, self-published with the support of the Yamamura Koka Hanga Kankokai (Publication Society of Yamamura Koka's prints), ca. 1924

oban tate-e 15 7/8 by 11 in., 40.4 by 27.9 cm

In 1916, publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) saw one of Koka's actor paintings at the government-sponsored exhibition Inten and asked to make a print from it that same year. Watanabe subsequently published another actor print in 1917, and then two more in 1919. Contrary to popular belief, Flowers of the Theatrical World (Rien no Hana), an important series of twelve okubi-e actor prints designed by Koka in 1920-1922, were not published by Watanabe but by the Yamamura Koka Hanga Kankokai (Publication Society of Yamamura Koka's Prints), a group of supporters comprised primarily of collectors. In 1924 he began self-publishing non-actor prints including landscapes and kacho-ga. Koka produced thirty-three woodblock prints in his career, and only four of them with Watanabe. Most were self-published with the support of the society.

In another version of this design the geometric pattern on the obi is highlighted with metallic gold printing instead of black mica. The subject of this print appears to be based on a painting, Dancing Girl (current whereabouts unknown) which illustrates a 3/4 length portrait of a maiko against a background of a screen or fusuma panel decorated with snow-covered bamboo.

Kato Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, vol. I, pl. 147
Amy Reigle Newland and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties, 2000, p. 90, no. 113
Carolyn M. Putney, et al., Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints, 2013, p. 238, cat. 217 (edition of 100, gold on the obi)
Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2015, p. 79, no. 35 (black mica on the obi), and p. 219, illus. 16 (painting)

price: Sold


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