Songoku Battling Kinkaku Daio, 1865 - Terrific early Yoshitoshi print illustrating a scene from the epic Chinese novel "Journey to the West," which tells the story of a Buddhist monk on a pilgrimage to India to obtain sacred texts. He is aided during his quest by several animal disciples. In this dramatic scene from Chapter 33, the monkey king Songoku battles the evil Kinkaku Daio on a cliff overlooking the sea. The monkey tumbles backwards over the edge, falling into sweeping clouds of smoke and flames, reaching its arms out helplessly. Kinkaku Daio, the King of the Gold Horn, was a servant of the Chinese philosopher Laotzu. His face contorted with rage, he gestures angrily at the monkey, waving a fly whisk above his head, his wild hair blowing in the breeze. A striking design conveying a real sense of energy and movement.
An Unusual Crepe Print - This is an unusual "crepe" print, known in Japanese as "chirimen-gami-e," which literally means "compressed thread paper print." After the woodblock was printed in the traditional manner, the print went through a mechanical process that added a crinkled texture while also reducing the size considerably. The print was dampened and layered with a cardboard mold incised with parallel lines, then wrapped around an upright wooden post on a lever press. An opening in the lever fit over the post, and when pressed down over post, compressed the paper into the incised lines on the cardboard mold. This process would be repeated as many as 10 or more times, with the print slightly reoriented each time to achieve a uniform, highly textured, crinkled appearance similar to crepe paper.
Artist - Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)
Image Size - 9" x 6 5/8" + margins as shown
Condition - This print with excellent detail as shown. Vertical fold. Losses at edges, a few holes, repaired. Wrinkling, toning and soiling. Please see photos for details.
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