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WADA SANZO. - Wood Block Hand Prints - Japanese Life and Customs - A set of six pictures by Sanzo Wada. [aka , Showa Occupations or Japanese Vocations in Pictures].

Kyoto Hanga-In [195-?]. Publisher's patterned board folder (24x30cm) with illustrated label; six colour woodcut prints, loose as issued. A scratch to the label, an excellent copy, the prints bright and fine. This contains the flower sellers, the fortune teller, the weavers, the soba vendor, the komuso, and the farming family. ¶ In the late thirties Wada gathered an in-house team of woodblock cutters and printers and began work on a projected series of 100 prints recording occupations in his changing Japan. Some were traditional and vanishing and some were the product of modern industrialised Japan. From here we can see that some of those modern jobs barely lasted out the century. The prints began appearing in 1939 and struggled on until 1943 when two series totalling 48 prints had appeared. After the war the project was resurrected by the Kyoto Hanga-In and a third series of 24 prints appeared from 1954 to 56. They also re-did earlier prints from new blocks; the originals had been destroyed. According to Ross Walker (Ohmi Gallery), the owners of Kyoto Hanga-In told him that they could not afford too many cherry woodblocks so their blocks for the prints of the fifties were planed and re-used and nothing before 1960 survives. This album is obviously for foreign consumption and contains six prints from the first and second series. The paper size is smaller than the separately issued prints but the quality of printing is no less, often better than copies of the separate prints I've seen. The colours are strong and vibrant and the extra embossing that is such an important part of the print - and can't be seen in reproduction - is deep and crisp where used. These copies aren't lettered or signed, one has the artist's seal. I've traced two other sets and both hold the same six prints but small variations in the prints and signatures occur in all. Wada's drawings have a modest charm and get better the more you look at them. The best may not hold your gaze at first but after a while you realise that they are the work of a great master of observation and deceptively simple expression.
AUD 450.00 [Appr.: EURO 289 US$ 327.54 | £UK 251.75 | JP¥ 37200] Book number 9959

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