RENBO NAGASHI (Mizuno Toshikata)

N.1 kuchi-e woodblock print
Year: 1900
Condition: very good
Size: 32,5 x 22,5 cm



In this kuchi-e (口絵) woodblock print, one of the finest illustrations by the artist Mizuno Toshikata (水野年方), we see depicted a shakuhachi (尺八) flute player and a kokyu (胡弓) vielle player. Behind them the comings and goings of a Tokyo evening. The work was made as a frontispiece of the novel by the writer Oguri Fuyo (小栗風葉) entitled “Renbo Nagashi” (恋慕流し), that is “the flow of love” or “wandering yearning”, inspired by the well-known homonym musical piece that was played by the komuso (虚無僧) monks while begging or meditating.

Mizuno Toshikata (1866 – 1908), a pupil of Tsukiyoka Yoshitoshi (月岡芳年), was a traditional genre painter much appreciated by his contemporaries. Active especially in the production of front pages for novels, as well as woodcuts depicting historical subjects and beautiful women, he gathered around him and formed young talents such as Kiyokata Kaburagi (鏑木清方). Member of the Nihon Bijutsu Kyokai (日本美術協会), in 1900 he participated in the Universal Exposition in Paris.

The precious print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), produced in 1900 by the publisher Shunyodo (春陽堂) in Tokyo, is in very good condition.