1987. Item #89603
Yamanouchi Kinzaburō 山内金三郎, artist. Ōtsu-e Zōhyōshū 大津絵藏票集. Gohachi 吾八. Tokyo. Showa 62 . 18 x 15.5cm small volume string-bound Japanese style, fukuro-toji with red string. Front wrapper is decorated with a color woodcut of a demon playing a musical instrument. Colophon identifies this as #36 of 50 copies, done as a reprint of the original edition done in 20 copies in Showa 35 . 12 original, color woodblock-printed bookplates. The initial page has machine printed text listing the titles of all twelve woodcuts and the final page has a similarly printed colophon.
This attractive book by artist Yamauchi Kinzaburō 山内金三郎 (1886-1966) is a tribute to the tradition of Ōtsu-e 大津絵 (Pictures from Ōtsu), and the history is a fascinating one. It began as a cottage industry among families and businesses along the main roads of the Ōtsu region near Kyoto during the 1600s. Ōtsu was one of the stops along the Tōkaidō, the well-traveled road between Kyoto and Edo, and thus Ōtsu-e survived well into the late 1800s, until railways took over as the main mode of transportation.
Kinzaburō pays homage to the original religious subjects of Ōtsu-e in his portrayal of a Buddhist figure with a halo and demons disguised as monks. Other subjects include bijin 美人 (beautiful women), a botanical, and a monkey. All are done in lovely colors by a skilled hand. The woodcuts range in size from approx. 11 x 6.5cm to 7 x 6.5cm. For more information on Ōtsu-e, see pp. 108-9 of Rebecca Salter’s book “Japanese Popular Prints” from Univ. of Hawaii Press.
The artist was also an important figure in the world of publishing, as he established, along with Imamura Hidetarō 今村秀太郎 (1907-1994), the well-known art book publishing house Gohachi 吾八, which survived in different iterations for over 50 years, from 1911 until 1987, continuing for years after Kinzaburō’s death.
In very good condition. Housed in a washi 和紙 wraparound case with a printed title slip.