Taito II (fl. 1810 - 1853)

Collecting Shells

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: c. 1818
Size (H x W): 8.5 x 7.5 (inches)
Signature: Katsushika Taito
Condition: Very good color, good impression, good state, light rubbing around edges, embellished with silver



Surimono are a special genre of woodblock prints that would be exchanged between elite literary and artistic circles for special occasions, especially for the New Year. In this beautiful print, Taito II illustrates the activity of shell gathering on a beach at low tide. For the young boy, the thrill of discovering an enormous abalone shell is depicted through the expressiveness of the body and face.  Another impression of the print is in Museum of Fine Arts Boston.


About the artist

A prolific illustrator, Taito II was born in Edo to a samurai family from Kyushu. He began his artistic education under the great Hokusai, who bestowed his own go “Taito” onto his young student in 1820. Taito II worked closely with his teacher, collaborating with Hokusai on the second Hokusai Manga volume in 1815. Working independently in Edo from 1830 to 1843, Taito II worked in Osaka between 1843 and 1853. Throughout his career, Taito II’s oeuvre spanned ehon (illustrated books), single-sheet prints, and paintings. For a period of time, he began forging Hokusai’s signature, but was found out. Following this incident, Taito II was sometimes called “Inu (Dog) Hokusai” or “Osaka Hokusai”