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Double-sided Key Block for Ukiyo-e Print

Utagawa Toyokuni III (Kunisada), Eisen Keisai

Asian Art

This carving served as the key block, the first one made by the carver, based on Kunisada’s original drawing. It provides the basic outlines of the design. The key block was used to make a number of simple black impressions that served as guides for the carving of all subsequent blocks. The print made by this carving was the mirror image of what we see here, so all of the text on the block is in reverse. This block is actually signed by its carver, Asai Ginjir? (1844–1894). There was no general policy with regard to carvers signing their work, but such signatures are definitely in the minority.
MEDIUM Cherry wood
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES ca. 1830
    PERIOD Edo Period
    DIMENSIONS 15 1/2 x 10 1/8 x 3/8 in. (39.4 x 25.7 x 1 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 2002.119.15a-b
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. Alvin E. Friedman-Kien
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Utagawa Toyokuni III (Kunisada) (side a) (Japanese, 1786-1864). Double-sided Key Block for Ukiyo-e Print, ca. 1830. Cherry wood, 15 1/2 x 10 1/8 x 3/8 in. (39.4 x 25.7 x 1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Alvin E. Friedman-Kien, 2002.119.15a-b. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE side, a, 2002.119.15a_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Side a: Toyokuni III (Kunisada) Three Women Musicians On a Balcony. A woodblock for ukiyo-e print of an autumn scene of women playing shamisen and biwa (musical instruments) with an attendant who carries tray with tea cup. Condition: Very good. Wood is stained black from ink used in printing. Side b: Keisai 18 Tokyo cuisine style dishes. (Tokyo ryori jyuuhachi sakana) Name of place: Sumiyoshi cho… (incomplete) The other name of place: Honya bakuro (bakuro) four Carver's name: Cho-ei Keyblock for outline of ukiyo-e print showing two women in a restaurant, holding papers in their hands. Condition: Few tiny breaks in outline. Old break (stable) at upper left.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (86%)
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