N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Period: 1881-86
Condition: good
Size: 12 x 18 cm



In the upper right part of this funny woodblock print we can read: «Mountain potatoes become eels» (山のいもうなぎ二成). This Japanese proverb is used to indicate an unexpected or at first sight inconceivable occurrence and, in particular, to emphasize the fact that even a person of modest social background can quickly achieve success in life.

The work is taken from the “One Hundred Pictures by Kyosai” (狂斎百図), a series by the famous caricaturist Kawanabe Kyosai (河鍋暁斎), nicknamed “The Painting Demon”, which was first published between 1863 and 1866 by Wakasaya Yoichi (若狭屋与市), owner of Jakurindo (若林堂).

The print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), presented here in an edition produced between 1881 and 1886 by the publisher Okura Magobei (大倉孫兵衛), despite the right signs of aging including two small wormholes in the upper part, is in good general condition.