Item ID: 9745 Unpitsu soga 運筆麁畵 [The Moving Brush in Rough Painting]. Morikuni 橘守國 TACHIBANA.
Unpitsu soga 運筆麁畵 [The Moving Brush in Rough Painting].
Unpitsu soga 運筆麁畵 [The Moving Brush in Rough Painting].
Unpitsu soga 運筆麁畵 [The Moving Brush in Rough Painting].
Unpitsu soga 運筆麁畵 [The Moving Brush in Rough Painting].
Unpitsu soga 運筆麁畵 [The Moving Brush in Rough Painting].

A New Illustration Technique

Unpitsu soga 運筆麁畵 [The Moving Brush in Rough Painting].

57 double-page & two single-page woodcuts. 24; 20; 20 folding leaves. Three vols. 8vo, orig. semi-stiff wrappers, orig. block-printed title labels on upper covers. Osaka: Shibukawa Seiemon; Edo: Nishimura Genroku, 1749.

First edition, published one year after the artist’s death. Tachibana (1679-1748), “was the most prolific book-illustrator working in the Kanō tradition in the early eighteenth century…One book stands apart for quite other reasons from the rest designed by Morikuni: the Umpitsu Soga, a book of 1749 aiming to deal with the technique of (‘cursive’ or ‘coarse’ brushwork), and introducing, if not for the first time, then for the first time on such a systematic scale, new methods in preparing woodblocks to convey tonal effects of ink-painting, not by black outlines or by lines in white reserve, but by roughening the surface of the wood to produce a scumbling, almost mezzotint-like effect, and by ‘lowering’ certain areas, which then printed more faintly than the remainder of the book (with the connivance, of course, of the printer, who was responsible for the degree of pressure applied to the baren used for ‘burnishing off’ the proof)…

“The ploys so successfully introduced in Morikuni’s book became part of the accepted repertoire of block-cutters for every type of book save those of the Ukiyo-e masters.”–Hillier, The Art of the Japanese Book, pp. 189-93.

The images in this handsome work deal mostly with studies of animals, birds, and flowers.

Fine set. A few minor wormholes.

References

Brown, Louise North. Block Printing & Book Illustrations in Japan (London: 1924), p. 64–“Most of Morikuni’s drawings have far less charm than Sukenobu’s or Masanobu’s work, although some of them show a good deal of virility. Those in the [present work] have much more freedom and breadth than most of his work. They show the Kanō technique rather than the severely academic manner which characterized so much that he did.”.

Price: $5,000.00

Item ID: 9745