1906. Item #87233
[DRAWING TEXTBOOK] ASAI CHÛ, artist. Chûtô ENPITSUGA TEHON Dai Hasshû. Tôkyô, Yoshikawa Kôbunkan, Meiji 39 . 2nd printing. Oblong 8vo., wrappers. 18.4 x 26 cm. A bit of departure from earlier volumes in the series, this eighth volume contains 6 sheets of color woodcut reproducing watercolor sketches by Asai Chû and meant to serve as a guide for secondary students in their drawing classes. The Japanese Education Ministry, the Monbushô, had commissioned Asai Chû, one of the foremost artists and educators of the day to create a series of such handbooks for schools. This brief notice is not the place to expand but it should be noted that this series represents an important milestone in the see-saw cultural battle being waged between artistic traditionalists and "modern" Western-style artists. The fact that the Asai Chû strove to familiarize students with the use of the pencil (and in this case Western watercolor) rather than the traditional brush is significant in that context. Asai, himself, actually, though an accomplished Western-style oil painter who had studied in France was also a skilled traditional painter and a top-rank graphic designer, as well. It appears he believed in giving students all the tools, all the media, available for their expression. His textbook series are rightly famous though almost never found, being fragile to begin with and meant to be used by students. This volume is in very good condition - the pages are loose. It should also be noted that Yoshikawa Kôbunkan was a famous house, capable of great skill in woodblock printing projects.