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Shinsai (c. 1764 - 1820)

Quilt and Paper Crane

Medium: Woodblock Print
Date: c. 1880
Size (H x W): 8.25 x 7.5 (inches)
Edition: Meiji edition
Signature: Shinsai ga
Condition: Very good color and impression, light soiling, and foxing, embellished with embossing.

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In the 1880s publishers took earlier surimono designs and printed them in a number of small edition sets. These prints were sometimes sold to the early Western travelers to Japan. Like the original impressions of these designs, these surimono were exquisitely printed with elaborate embellishments.

About the artist

An ukiyo-e painter and printmaker, Shinsai Ryuryukyo lived in Edo. He studied with Sori Tawaraya before becoming the student of Hokusai. Shinsai received his name from Hokusai in 1800 and soon adopted the go, or artist name, “Ryuryukyo,” an old go used by his former teacher Sori. While Shinsai illustrated books and designed single-sheet prints throughout his career, he is best known for his surimono. These lavishly printed works were commissioned for special occasions, such as the New Year or poetry competitions. Adorned with gold, silver, lacquer, embossing, and mica, no expense was spared in the production of these exquisite works. Shinsai also experimented with one-point perspective and shading in his landscape prints.