Beautiful shin-hanga portrait of a beauty (bijin-ga) making her way through a spring snow, using a large umbrella to keep the snow off of her. The beauty is wearing a deep red kimono with a pattern of fans delicately outlined in gold mica, tied with an intricately navy and rust colored obi. The green trim of the robe features gold mica cherry blossoms, with a pale gray color detailed with an incredibly intricate white pattern. Her hair is pulled back into a large bun adorned with hairpins, a comb, and several ribbons. The hairpins and edge of the comb are also treated with gold mica. Published by The Momose Print Company of Tokyo in the 1960s as part of a small group of woodblock designs based on Shinsui’s paintings, this is an exquisitely printed design with all of the “extras” applied.
The prints were originally offered in a shin-hanga limited edition promotion from Momose; beauties were sold for 280,000 yen each. From a limited numbered edition of 250, this one is marked EA (short for Artist Proof) on the print itself as well as on the accompanying proof of authenticity which was on the original frame back. You can see the numbering stamp in the lower margin of the print.
This limited edition was done in the 1960s, not to be confused with a later non-numbered edition put out later.
The Woodblock Print
We’ve listed this print as a dai-oban, but the image measures 15.25″x16.25″, paper measures 16.5″x19.5″. This print is in excellent condition with no flaws to be seen. Crisp and vibrant color, metallic inks still bright, full and intact margins without discolorations, clean verso without discolorations.
Please note: due to the size this print will be shipped carefully in a tube as opposed to flat.
About the Artist
Shinsui Itō (伊東 深水, February 1898 – 8 May 1972) was a Japanese artist who specialized in woodblock prints during the early 20th century. He was born in Tokyo in 1898 and was given the name Hajime Itō. He later changed his name to Shinsui, which means “truthful water” in Japanese. Shinsui was one of the leading artists of the shin hanga movement, which focused on creating traditional Japanese woodblock prints in a modern style.
Shinsui’s early work was influenced by the ukiyo-e prints of the Edo period, which featured colorful and intricate designs. He later developed his own style, which was characterized by simplified forms, bold lines, and muted colors. His prints often depicted beautiful women (bijin-ga), landscapes, and scenes from everyday life.
One of Shinsui’s most famous works is the series “Eight Views of Lake Biwa,” which was published in 1918. The series features eight woodblock prints that depict the scenic views of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. Shinsui’s use of muted colors and simplified forms in the series was a departure from the more elaborate and detailed prints of the Edo period.
Shinsui’s work was highly regarded in Japan and was also recognized internationally. He exhibited his prints in Europe and the United States, where they were well received by collectors and critics. In 1952, he was awarded the Order of Culture, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Japanese government.
Despite his success, Shinsui was known for his modesty and lived a simple life. He continued to produce prints until his death in 1972, at the age of 74.