A young lady in a traditional white Kimono is putting on the picks (the green bands) on her fingers before playing the koto. The koto is a Japanese plucked half-tube zither instrument, and the national instrument of Japan. It is derived from the Chinese zheng and se, and similar to the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum and ajaeng, the Vietnamese đàn tranh, the Sundanese kacapi and the Kazakh jetigen.
The Woodblock Print
This oban-sized woodblock has exceptional color and is in fine to very fine condition. Intact margins and a clean verso, toning in the margins and areas of foxing throughout the print.
About the Artist
Shinmei Kato was born in 1910 in Nagoya with the given name of Kiyoshi. He studied under Watanabe Kishun and Nakamura Gakuryo. The artist worked foremost as a painter who exhibited at the state-sponsored exhibitions of Teiten and Nitten where he won a prize in 1948. Later he became a member of the board of judges.
Shinmei Kato is known for the traditional Japanese genre of images of bijin, beautiful women, frequently shown as maiko prints.