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Kyōsai hyakuzu, Carelessness (Sosō)


Japanese Color Woodblock Print



from the series Kyōsai Hyakuzu

by Kawanabe Kyōsai, c. 1863-1866

Study of Gaslight and Silhouetted Figures

IHL Cat. #1305

About this Print and the Series Kyōsai Hyakuzu

The Print
This print depicting a man drawing water from a well as a passing rider on horseback becomes entangled in a rope, likely depicts the Japanese proverb Sosō mo toki no ikkyō* (Failure is fun at the time.)  

* typically written as 粗相も時の一興

Variant Printings

The popularity of these small prints led to numerous printings over the years.  Two color variant states of the print are shown below.

The Series
Source: Comic Genius: Kawanabe Kyōsai, Oikawa Shigeru, Clark Timothy and Forrer Matthi, Tokyo Shinbun, 1996, p. 206.
This print was issued as part of the series the Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyōsai) which consists of more than 200 pictorializations of proverbs and depictions of famous subjects unrelated to proverbs. The prints were published continuously from 1863 to 1866* by the publisher Wakasaya and the works were later reprinted in album form by the publisher Ōkura Magobei (Ōkuraya) in 1881 and 1886.  The prints in this collection are likely from one of Ōkura Magobei's reprint editions, as they show evidence of having been removed from an album. 

One hundred of the proverbs depicted in Kyōsai hyakuzu were translated into French in 1885 under the title Cent Proverbes Japonais by Francis Steenackers and Ueda Tokunosuke.

This print series was very popular, enhancing Kyōsai's reputation and making a large profit for the publishers.

*1863-1866 are the most common publication dates provided for these prints, though the literature cites dates as early as 1862 for the first publication date and reprints of this series are still being made.  The prints were first issued by publisher Wakasaya Yoichi (aka Jakurindō Yoichi) as single-sheet prints, sold in ten print packages in a decorative envelope.  Ōkura Magobei (aka Yorozuya Magobei) re-published the prints in bound book/album form in the 1880s.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description
麁相 Sosō 
 Artist Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
 Series Kyōsai hyakuzu 狂斎百図 (One Hundred Pictures by Kyōsai)
惺々狂斎 Seisei Kyōsai
 Seal of the Artist None
 Publication Date unknown (originally c. 1863-1866)
 Wakasaya Yoichi or Ōkura Magobei 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - minor printers marks/offsetting
 Genre ukiyo-e; giga (comic print)
 Format koban [Vertical yotsugiri (quarter ôban)]
 H x W Paper 
 7 x 4 3/4 in. (17.8 x 12.1 cm)
 H x W Image 
 Collections This Print
 Ukiyoe Caricatures, University of Vienna 11032-66
 Reference Literature
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