Maiko from Maisugata (Dancing Figure)
woodblock printed book illustration with mica ground, with artist's seal Hiro, ca. 1916
koban 6 3/4 by 4 1/4 in., 17 by 10.8 cm
Nakazawa Hiromitsu was a painter trained in the Western-style (yoga) who provided illustrations for numerous newspapers, magazines and novels, and from 1905 until 1920, was one of the most prolific artists contributing to sketch-tour books, an important precursor of shin hanga landscape prints. The publication Maisugata (Dancing Figure) portrayed one day in the life of a maiko (young geisha in training).
The use of a mica background recalls the lavish okubi-e ('big head') bust portraits of kabuki actors and famous courtesans of the late 18th and early 19th century 'golden age' ukiyo-e, a whimsical embellishment for this small-format print. Only one year later, the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) would attempt a full-mica background on a large-sized (approx. 20 by 10 in.) print depicting an elongated view of a seated girl, Spring (Haru), by Ito Shinsui (1898-1972).
Helen Merritt, and Nanako Yamada, Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, 1992, pp. 106-107
The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints, www.myjapanesehanga.com (artist's biography and publications)
(inv. no. C-3250)
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site last updated
October 21, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
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