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Lizard and cucumber vines from the series Fifty Kinds of Flowers

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Lizard and cucumber vines

from the series Fifty Kinds of Flowers

by Kotozuka Eiichi, 1935

IHL Cat. #900

About This Print

One of twenty prints contributed by Kotozuka Eiichi (1906-1979) to the series Fifty Kinds of Flowers issued in 1935.  This print, the blocks for which were carved by Eiichi, but published by Unsodo Publishing, show a gekko-like lizard emerging from spreading cucumber vines. 

"In this print the bare paper of the composition is well suited to feature the organic mottled print textures. To achieve this atenashi [bokashi]1 effect the block and washi paper are quite damp and the baren is used sparingly. The leaves and tendrils are printed from three blocks using three tones of the same blue-grey ink. The ink has been diluted with water, and printed without any starch. The darkest tones of blue were reprinted to give accent to the linework. The buttery yellow flowers and red highlights give a little extra spark to the design."2

1 Lit. indeterminate shading. A type of fukui bokashi 拭きぼかし, a technique for producing gradated tones (shading) on woodblock prints ukiyo-e 浮世絵. Called 'indeterminate' because the shape and position of the final shaded color area is not fixed and will vary from impression to impression. The technique employs extra water that is sprinkled onto the broad, raised area to print the required color on the woodblock. Next, a small amount of pigment is daubed on and mixed with the water, and an impression is taken. (JAANUS website http://www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus/deta/a/atenashibokashi.htm)
2 Baren forum website http://barenforum.org/blog/archives/2005/07/eiichi_kotozuka.html

About The Series Fifty Kinds of Flowers

Published in 1936 by Unsodo Publishing in Kyoto, this five volume set containing ten prints per volume was drawn by Tokuriki Tomikichirō (1902-2000), Kamei Tōbei  (1901-1977) and Kotozuka Eiichi (1906-1979), with Eiichi and Tōbei contributing two each of the volumes.

cover and two print examples

click on image to enlarge

 table of contents
listing the title 花五十題の内 and the artist for each of the five volumes along with the title of each volume.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #900
 Title untitled - lizard and cucumber vines
 Series Fifty Kinds of Flowers (Hana gojū dai no uchi 花五十題)
 Kotozuka Eiichi (1906-1979)
 not signed
Koto koku ga (carved by Koto)

 Date 1935 (Showa 10) It is reported that two editions of this series were released.  The first was made available by subscription and the second was released after the subscription was sold out.
 Publisher  Unsodo Publishing 芸艸堂
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair - heavy toning; irregularly trimmed; several spots of foxing
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative print)
 Format oban
 H x W Paper 9 3/4 x 13 1/4 in. (24.8 x 33.7 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Reference Literature National Diet Library 本別7-297