Shūhō Taki (秋方瀧?) (artist 1930s)
Japanese girl in a western port city from the series Kindai Reijin Gafu ('Album of Contemporary Beauties')
10.5 in x 15.25 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese color woodblock print
Signed: Shūhō (秋方)
Nihon no hanga This print was one of four from one of the most disparately designed groupings ever created by a single Japanese artist. We have added the other three images shown below the print on this page. Scholten Japanese Art noted of this series while speaking of another print from this set: "This print is from a set of four woodblock prints published by Nichigetsu Shoin [日月書院] of Osaka in 1936. The original set was issued in a cloth covered box with each print tipped in along the top edge to a rigid cloth-covered board with the front protected by a sheet of semi-translucent washi paper which was attached along the right-hand edge."
This copy in the Lyon Collection is probably from a later edition because the original ones carried the artist's red seal below his signature in the lower right. The trimmed left-hand margin would have read: "Nichigetsu Shoin zo han (publisher Nichigetsu Shoin) hori Morien (carver Moriei) suri Nakai (printer Nakai)". This information is also supplied by Scholten Japanese Art.
This very young and attractive Japanese woman visiting a Western urban site is absolutely delightful. It highlights one of the major dichotomies of modern Japanese art. She is dressed in an updated version of the more traditional kimono, but has a strikingly modern western-style hairdo. Even her placement in space, in the foreground of the print, shows several multi-storied buildings in the background. Is she in France, even Paris despite the description generally accepted that she is in a Western port city? Or is she somewhere else? The buildings certainly look French, but the fellow with his back to us seen in the background near her left shoulder definitely looks like he is wearing a cowboy hat and might even be a wee bit bowlegged. Or is that just my imagination?
Another striking and somewhat interesting element is the decoration of her very broad obi. Is that a large fruit of a chestnut or kuri (栗) which has popped open? If it is it makes sense since the history of the chestnut in Japanese arts was long standing. It was even mentioned in the Man'yōshū in the 8th century.
This print is trimmed on all sides and somewhat into the image on the left side. It lacks the artist's seal found in other printings. Also, the publisher's information is missing from the left margin.
beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)
modern prints (shin hanga - 新版画) (genre)
Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (genre)