Imayo shokuninzukushi uta-awase [Artisans’ Trades poetically described]. Masayoshi KITAO, Keisai or KITAO or KUWAGATA, Keisai.
Imayo shokuninzukushi uta-awase [Artisans’ Trades poetically described].
Imayo shokuninzukushi uta-awase [Artisans’ Trades poetically described].
Imayo shokuninzukushi uta-awase [Artisans’ Trades poetically described].
Imayo shokuninzukushi uta-awase [Artisans’ Trades poetically described].
Imayo shokuninzukushi uta-awase [Artisans’ Trades poetically described].

His Final Book

Imayo shokuninzukushi uta-awase [Artisans’ Trades poetically described].

36 finely color-printed full-page woodcuts. 40; 53.5 folding leaves. Two vols. Large 8vo, orig. pale-blue patterned wrappers, orig. block printed title labels on upper covers, new stitching. Tokyo: 1825.

First edition of Masayoshi’s final book. Kitao (1764-1824), was a painter and print artist who trained under the color-print master Kitao Shigemasa. Kitao then worked as an ukiyo-e artist and later became official painter to the daimyo of Tsuyama. During this period, he worked in the Kano style, using the name Kuwagata Keisai. During his period of activity as an ukiyo-e artist, Kitao Masayoshi produced mainly novelette illustrations. After 1794, however, when he became painter in attendance to the Tsuyama fiefdom, he switched mainly to paintings and printed albums. He produced many instructional manuals on how to paint in “abbreviated style” (ryakuga-shiki).

This book is part of a long literary tradition in Japan: an imaginary poetry contest in which the competing poets are depicted with the garb and tools of various occupations — here, physicians, fortune tellers, dancers, painters, metalworkers, woodcutters, gamblers, and more — with poems attributed to them.

One of the finest of this genre, the present book is a wonderfully illustrated guide to 72 trades as practiced in the Edo period of Japan. Each woodcut depicts two trades, comparing them, and the facing poem concludes which is superior. All the elements of Edo life are here, poetically described and illustrated. A few of the professions described and depicted include a comedian, a flower seller, a used-umbrella seller, a slipper seller, a dealer in used and slightly damaged lacquerware, a juggler, a gun maker, a drummer, a comb maker, a well digger with his ear to the ground seeking a source of water, a candy seller, a potter, a fishmonger, a dealer in potted plants, a dealer in fans, a wire vendor, a hatmaker, etc., etc.

Fine set.
❧ Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, Chap. 34–”No artist, in or outside the ranks of Ukiyo-e, not even excepting Hokusai, shows such a Protean diversity of styles as Keisai Masayoshi (1764-1824)…This simulation of the style of an earlier age is partly responsible for the somewhat eccentric figures in Masayoshi’s last book [the present work], rendered all the more curious because the title emphasizes that the book concerns current, present-day, artisans…But Imayo, for Masayoshi, seems to cover the last two centuries, for some of the women depicted have hair-styles and dress patterns that date them to the early seventeenth century. The fine outlines are matched by very delicate, carefully gradated, colours, of ‘Flower-sellers’, bring the strange charm of these artificial figures…
“[In this work] he had achieved a freedom to indulge in what was manneristic, almost whimsical, treatment of a subject that usually called for straightforward literalness.”.

Price: $7,500.00

Item ID: 7328