Description This is a simple wooden printing block used to produce a single color image. It is carved on both sides with stereotypical scenes of Japanese women and flowers. The obverse carries a scene of a woman in a kimono decorated with large peony flowers. She is shown pulling a cart with a vase of summer flowers. On the reverse, two women in flowered robes are harvesting grasses. They are joined by a poem in running script on the theme of picking grasses. Generally, blocks of this type used for the production of Japanese prints are neither collected nor retained as works of art. They are tools that were used and either sanded down after their images became worn or burned as fuel when their usefulness had run out. This block was likely made to produce a small number of prints following the general decline of the print tradition toward the end of the nineteenth century or beginning of the twentieth. It shows signs of having been used to produce prints, but it is only lightly worn on each side. It was likely saved for its decorative quality and later sold as a curiosity.
- Japanese Woodblock Prints: The Art of Collaboration. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2018-2019.
Provenance Erna Hoffberger, Upperville, Virginia [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Monika Griff, Maryland, October 19, 2010, by inheritance [from her sister Erna Hoffberger]; Walters Art Museum, 2011, by gift.
Credit Gift from the Erna and Charles Bertram Hoffberger Collection, 2011
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