Kiyochika, Patterns of Flowers

Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847 - 1915) Patterns of Flowers (Hana Moyo) 1896. Two Sheets from an Oban Triptych.

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This striking print is by Kobayashi Kiyochika, a highly regarded artist of the Meiji. Described as, "...the last important ukiyo-e master and the first noteworthy print artist of modern Japan" by Richard Lane in Images from the Floating World: The Japanese Print (Oxford University Press), he illustrates very nicely the growing bonds between east and west at the time.

In this uncharacteristically oriental series, Kiyochika portrays a single female against a middle distance backdrop of lesser figures. The flowers of the title are the women and their lavish costume. There was a vogue in the 1890’s for portraying the history of costume or hairstyle over the preceding ages - a good example being Chikanobu’s Mirror of the Ages series from 1897.  

This fine print is the centre and right sheet of a triptych. It shows the subject, a woman, exquisitely drawn and dressed and in the background a porter. Her kimono is decorated with fortune telling game cards which ambiguously, she appears to be playing. 

The print is in perfect condition, full size with very fine colour and an early impression.