This is print #8 “Myotaku” from the series Kyodo Risshi no Motoi (“Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition”), published in 1886 by Matsuki Heikichi.
Myotaku was a disciple of Muso Kokushi. But he liked to draw pictures very much despite the opposition from Muso. One day, Muso saw Myotaku was secretly drawing Fudo-myo-o. Muso was very surprised by the mastery of the picture and let Myotaku draw pictures from then on.
“Kyōdō risshi no motoi”
This series is variously translated as “Instructive Models of Lofty Ambition,” “Foundations of Learning and Achievement,” “Foundation of Instruction and Perseverance,” “Self-Made Men Worthy of Emulation,” “Paragons of Instruction and Success,” “Moral of Success,” “Examples of Self-Made Leaders,” and “Instruction in the Fundamentals of Success.” The title in Japanese is sometimes seen as “Kyōdō risshiki or “Kyōdō risshi no moto,” in addition to the most commonly seen transliteration of “Kyōdō risshi no motoi“.
This series ran between October 1885 and November 1890 and featured a long list of heroes and heroines, from antiquity to contemporary times, who were regarded as standards of moral leadership and self-realization.
Kyoiku Risshiki: # 8 Artist: Inoue Tankei Format: Oban tate-e: 14″ x 9.75″ Subject: The Priest Myotaku appearing from a screen watches a boy finishing of his painting. From ther series ‘An Educational Account of Self-Made Men’. Publisher: Matsuki Heikichi Date: 1886 Condition: Fine colors. Full size with margins. Japanese album backing paper. Very minor stains, marks and flaws. Generally very good state of preservation. Impression: Fine impression of the first edition with gauffrage.
The Woodblock Print
This woodblock is in very good condition with strong colors, no fading or discoloration, and fully intact with full margins. A clean verso.
About the Artist
Yasuji Inoue was born in Tokyo as the son of a proprietor of a dry goods store, possibly attending the printmaking school of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi at a very early ag, but at the age of 14 years old, becaming a student of Kobayashi Kiyochika. Kobayashi is considered the last of the great traditional Ukiyo-e masters of painting and printmaking.
Under the impact of the Meiji revolution with Western achievements and Western art concepts flooding into the country, Kobayashi experimented with Western style elements and integrated them into his own art work – without giving up the unique forms and values of traditional Japanese art, and thereby influencing the style of Yasuji.
Kobayashi and Inoue often made several versions of the same design, one at daylight and one at night for instance, as they incorporated the influence of Western Impressionism and the play of light within their compositions.