Everyone loves a good dragon image and this picture from the mind of Kyosai Kawanabe does not disappoint. A magnificent, twisting serpent rises up in a cloud of smoke from a large red urn, a gathering of people falling over themselves trying to escape. An incredibly fun print from his series One Hundred Pictures by Kyôsai (Kyôsai hyakuzu).
The Woodblock Print
A smaller print (5″x7″) in excellent condition, this print has great color, intact margins (minor edge wear or thinning), a clean verso and no discolorations to be seen. A fun and fascinating print.
About the Artist
Living through the Edo period to the Meiji period (May 18, 1831 – April 26, 1889), Kyōsai Kawanabe (河鍋 暁斎) witnessed Japan transform itself from a feudal country into a modern state. The son of a samurai, his first aesthetic shock was at the age of nine when he picked up a decapitated human head in the Kanda river. After apprenticing with Utagawa Kuniyoshi, he received his artistic training in the Kanō school under Maemura Tōwa, who gave him the nickname “The Painting Demon”, but soon abandoned the formal traditions for the greater freedom of the popular school. Kyōsai attained a reputation as a caricaturist. His very long painting on makimono “The battle of the farts” may be seen as a caricature of this genre.
Kyōsai is considered by many to be the greatest successor of Hokusai (of whom, however, he was not a pupil), as well as the first political caricaturist of Japan. He created what is considered to be the first manga magazine in 1874: Eshinbun Nipponchi, with Kanagaki Robun.