1899. Item #87238
[DRAWING TEXTBOOK] ASAI CHÛ, artist. CHÛGAKU EDEHON Dai Ichi. Tôkyô, Kinkôdô Shoseki, Meiji 32 . 2nd printing (originally published in 1895). Oblong 8vo., wrappers. 18.2 x 25.5 cm. This first volume of the series A DRAWING MANUAL FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL originally contained 10 sheets of sumi woodcut reproducing pencil sketches by Asai Chû and meant to serve as a guide for students in their drawing classes. However plate seven is missing. 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 rather than the 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 various 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 fairly good condition - the pages are loose and the one plate is missing.