Narazaki Eishô (Fuyô) (1964-1936)
The bright light of the full moon shining through one of the bizarre rock formations of Mount Myôgi in Gunma Prefecture. It is called the Rock Gate (Seki-mon or Ishi-mon) because of its shape.
Although Mt. Myôgi is considered as one of the hundred most beautiful landscapes of Japan, the mountain massif, rugged by erosion, is nevertheless only rarely depicted on woodblock prints.
Title: Myôgi-san Sekimon no Tsuki (Moon at the Rock Gate of Mt. Myogi)
Signature: Fuyô. Seal: Fuyô
Publisher: Watanabe, Tokyo
Date: before 1923
Size: Vertical Ôtanzaku (Mitsugiri-ban), 31,8 x 14,6 cm (overall), Chirimen-e
Fine impression, colours and condition. Verso in botton margin a blue stamp partly visible (illegible, Watanabe's pre-earthquake inventory number?). Mounted at top margin onto a (possibly original) good quality thin and clean cardboard.
Extremely rare print, printed before the Kantô earthquake of 1923, which destroyed Watanabe's printing blocks; here in a very nice, carefully and finely creped version (Chirimen-e). The artist, by whom only a small number of prints is known, signed with the name Fuyô from 1916-1922 (according to Watanabe until 1932). No later impressions known so far.
For the artist see Merritt/Yamada p. 107, and Amy Reigle Stephens et al, The new wave, London/Leiden 1993, p. 109 (Fuyô).
The chirimen technique requires repeated complex pressing processes of the finished, moistened print. The sheet is compressed and shrinks thereby, maintaining all proportions, and resulting in intensification of the colours and a hard-wearing, almost textile-like quality of the finished print. Chirimen-e were produced in Japan from the mid 19th century on. In the West crepe prints became famous through the books produced by the publisher Hasegawa from about 1880-1930 by this method. Creped single-sheet prints like this one are usually much rarer than the untreated "normal" versions.