Keisai Masayoshi 恵斎政美, artist. KeisaiRyakugashiki 恵斎楽画式 [Keisai’s Abbreviated Drawing Styles] (Also Jimbutsu Ryakugashiki 人物畧画式). Edo, Kyoto, & Osaka. Bunka 文化 10 . 1 volume, complete. 25.5 x 17.5cm, string-bound Japanese-style, fukuro-toji in blue wrappers. Printed title slip on left hand side. Edo, Kyoto, & Osaka. Originally published in Edo by Suharaya Ichibei in 1795, the colophon gives the zodiacal date of Bunka Mizunototori 癸酉, which corresponds to Bunka 10 or 1813. Complete in 1 volume with introduction and colophon in Japanese text. 30 cho with a final page pasted down to the rear wrapper. Original woodblock prints, multiple illustrations on a page, with a light wash of color. Although the title slip is labeled Keisai Ryakugashiki 恵斎楽画式, this volume is usually titled Jimbutsu Ryakugashiki 人物畧画式.
The charming woodcuts are mainly focused on figures in varied poses with a section on nature, landscapes and creatures. Keisai Masayoshi 恵斎政美, (also Kitao Masayoshi, 1764-1824) created a series of ryakugashiki 畧画式 (drawings in an abbreviated, informal style) from approx 1795-1813, covering figures, animals, plants, sea creatures and landscapes.
“In the initial volume, the Jimbutsu Ryakugashiki of 1795, it was not so much the page after page crowded with numerous small figures in action, unsupported by any explanatory text, that was exceptional; it was the summary, brusque, sketchy treatment, and the collaboration of the print-makers with flat patches of color, applied without subtlety or gradation.” Hillier p. 472 . See also Mitchell p. 453. It is worth mentioning that the first two, full-page illustrations resemble the work of [Albrecht] Dürer.
Wear to wrappers with soiling, wear and red and black ink marks on pages. An important and popular work whose original humor and skill are still there, but it is priced according to its lesser condition. From the Geoff Burton collection.