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Year of the Dragon, First Painting of the New Year from the magazine Bijutsu Sekai Vol. 24


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Year of the Dragon, First Painting of the New Year - Cloud Dragon, Soga Gorō and Prostitute

from the magazine Bijutsu Sekai, Vol. 24

 by Kawanabe Kyōsai, 1893

Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)

IHL Cat. #2531

About This Print

A kabuki actor wearing makeup for the part of Soga Gorō is painting a Cloud Dragon (unryū) to welcome the Year of the Dragon, which began January 30, 1892. Behind the painting sits a gigo (prostitute).  This print appeared in the October 1893 issue of the magazine Bijutsu Sekai.

The Magazine Bijutsu Sekai

Source: Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints: Reflections of Meiji Culture, Helen Merritt and Nanako Yamada, University of Hawaii Press, 2000

Twenty-five issues of Bijutsu Sekai 美術世界 (World of Art) were published from December 22, 1890 until the final issue on January 2, 1894.  The magazine presented fifteen or more works of well-known contemporary and past master artists to the public in woodblock form in each issue.  The woodblocks were either reproductions of paintings in reduced-size or original woodblocks. Published by Shun'yōdō  春陽堂, a Tokyo publishing firm best known for publishing illustrated novels, each issued was edited by the nihonga artist and designer of woodblock prints, Watanabe Seitei 渡辺省亭1 (1851-1918), who specialized in kachoga (bird and flower paintings).

Artists' works appearing in the magazine included those of Seitei himself, Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)Kōno Bairei (1844-1895)Kobayashi Eitaku (1843-1890), Imao Keinen (1845-1923), Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891), Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), Maruyama Ōkyo (1733-1795), Yosa Buson (1716-1784) and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849).  The final issue, volume 25, consisted of works only by Seitei.

Woodblock printing was done by Yoshida Ichimatsu (1866-1924) and the woodblocks were carved by Gotō Tokujirō.

For more details on the magazine see the article on this site titled Bijutsu Sekai (World of Art).

1 also seen written in Japanese as 省亭

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description
First Painting of the New Year, Year of the Dragon - Cloud Dragon, Soga Gorō and Prostitute from the magazine Bijutsu Sekai, Volume 24 
 辰年試筆【雲龍・曽我五郎・妓女】美術世界 巻廿四 
note: title is copied from the table of contents appearing Volume 24

 Artist Kawanabe Kyōsai (1831-1889)
Seisei Kyōsai 惺々暁斎

unread seal

 Publication Date October 17, 1893
 Publisher Shun'yōdō 春陽堂; proprietor Wada Tokutarō 和田篤太郎
 Gotō Tokujirō 五島徳次郎
 Printer Yoshida Ichimatsu 吉田市松 (1866-1924)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - margins trimmed to image
 Genre ukiyo-e; 美術雑誌 art magazine
 H x W Paper 
 7 1/2 x 5 1/8 in. (19.1x 13 cm)
 H x W Image 
 Collections This Print Harvard Library https://iiif.lib.harvard.edu/manifests/view/drs:52409570$1i (all twenty-five volumes shown)
 Reference Literature

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