This Complete Set - This is an extremely rare complete set of carved blocks for a fine reprint of Hiroshige's "Beauty with a Lantern," from a series published by Takamizawa and titled "Takamizawa's One Hundred Masterpieces of Ukiyo-e." The set comprises six cherry wood blocks and a single print made from the blocks. Five of the blocks are double-sided, and one is single-sided.
Several colors were used to produce the image, along with the black key block. The key block features all the black lines in the print, and is carved with incredible precision and fine line work. Pigments remain on the blocks, including blue, golden yellow, red orange, lighter red orange, and different shades of gray. Most interesting, four blocks were used to create the softly shaded gray background. Some of the blocks are nailed together. The colors were registered by aligning each print along an L-shaped kento mark on the lower right corner of each separate image.
The complete set of blocks are a fascinating, rare artifact from the recent past. Serious collectors often ask about block sets. They are almost never seen on the market. Once in a while a single block from a broken set is sold for a high price. This is an extremely rare complete set - apparently still usable. A once in a lifetime opportunity for a serious collector to add a block set to a collection.
The Takamizawa Publisher - Founded in 1911, the Takamizawa Publisher of Tokyo produced some of the highest quality ukiyo-e woodblock reprints of all time. Drawing on the traditions and methods of the Edo era, the company created reprints with the utmost care and great attention to detail, masterfully reproducing color, line work, and even wood grain detail in some cases. Printing blocks are rarely seen on the market, and even more rarely found as complete sets for a single image. These intricately carved blocks offer a wonderful look at the incredible skill and complexity involved in creating a Japanese woodblock print.
Publisher - Takamizawa
Artist - Hiroshige (1797 - 1858)
Size - Print 5 1/2" x 3 1/2" + margins as shown; block size and thickness varies, approximately 7 1/8" x 4 1/2"; key block 6 5/8" x 4 1/8" plus two pieces of wood nailed on for registration marks
Condition - Blocks: Worn, pigment remaining, writing on sides. Please see photos for details.