“Kinsei Jinbutsushi Hanai Oume” (1887)

“Kinsei Jinbutsushi Hanai Oume” (08/20/1887)
Artist: Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
35.5cm× 24.5cm, woodblock print
Coppola Collection

Yoshitoshi is generally considered the last great master of the Japanese woodblock print – and by some, one of the great innovative and creative geniuses of that artistic field. During his life, he produced a large number of prints, estimated by some authorities at over 10,000 in total.

By the end of his career, Yoshitoshi was in an almost single-handed struggle against time and technology. As he worked on in the old manner, Japan was adopting the mass reproduction methods of the West, like photography and lithography. Nonetheless, in a Japan that was turning away from its own past, he almost single-handedly managed to push the traditional Japanese woodblock print to a new level, before it effectively died with him.

About this print: #11 in this series

“No. 263, Hanai Oume stabbing Minekichi”

Kinsei jimbutsushi (Personalities of Recent Times, 1886-1888)

Yoshitoshi produced these prints in the 1880s as furoku, or supplements, to certain issues of the Yamato Newspaper. These prints were distributed to subscribers. While employed by the newspapers, Yoshitoshi produced numerous other prints in other formats.

These prints date from late in Yoshitoshi’s career, during the time that he was producing his well-received masterpiece series, “One Hundred Aspects of the Moon” (1885-1892). At this time, Yoshitoshi was well established as a great artist, and his work was in high demand.

The series features illustrations of a wide variety of personalities from contemporary, and historical times. The portraits are considered exceptional in execution relative to other news nishiki-e prints.

Technical details

  • Dates: 10/1886 – 05/1888
  • Size: Ōban
  • Signed: Ikkaisai Yoshitoshi hitsu
  • Seal: Taiso
  • Publisher: Yamato Shimbunsha
  • Block carvers: Suntetsudō Enkatsu, Yamamoto


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