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Typical Gallery Price: $130.00

Your Price: $58.88


Fusakichi the Fishmonger
Japanese Woodblock Print Repro
Wall Scroll


Fusakichi the Fishmonger - Japanese Woodblock Print Repro - Wall Scroll
103.2cm
40½"
46.3cm
18¼"

Approximate Measurements

Artwork Panel: 28cm x 40.5cm  ≈  11" x 16"

Silk/Brocade: 37.3cm x 103.2cm  ≈  14¾" x 40½"

Width at Wooden Knobs: 46.3cm  ≈  18¼"

Information about caring for your wall scroll
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Fusakichi

市川左団次 ふか七
The Actor Ichikawa Sadanji I as Fusakichi the Fishmonger

Fusakichi the Fishmonger - Japanese Woodblock Print Repro - Wall Scroll close up view

Close up view of the artwork mounted to this silk brocade wall scroll

This is the actor Ichikawa Sadanji depicted in this woodblock print at part of the "Mirror of Popular Actors of the Day" series published in 1883.

Original artist: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900).
Original woodblock was created in Japan, around October 1883.

The artist of the original work, Toyohara Kunichika, was born on the 30th of June 1835 in the Kyobashi district of Tokyo. His real name was Yasohachi Oshima. During his adolescence, he became a student of Chikanobu. A couple years later, he became an apprentice of Kunisada.

The art name, Kunichika, is a combination derived from the names of this artist's two masters, Kunisada and
Chikanobu.

This is a reproduction of a very old Japanese woodblock print. This was made months ago, rather than centuries ago. Printed on handmade kozo (mulberry) paper (the same kind of paper the original print was made with). I used the latest Canon fine art giclee printer to create this high-quality reproduction before having the print mounted as a handmade wall scroll.


About Real Japanese Woodblock Prints

Contrary to popular belief, woodblock printing (and in a way, the first printing press) was invented in China. Both artwork and whole books were produced in China using the woodblock print technique. Much of this artwork and printed books made their way to Japan. Emulating the methods and adding to the style, Japanese artists took woodblock printing to the next level.

In Japan, wood block prints are known as 木版畫 or "Moku Hanga". Most were produced during the Edo period (1603–1867). To put that in prospective, that's from before what is now the USA was even a British colony, to just after the Civil War. Some artists continued creating prints into the early 1900s.

At that time, Japanese artists would create "template paintings" with detailed images of "everyday life" scenes of Japan. Some of these "everyday life" or 浮世絵 (Ukiyo-e), which translates as "Floating World" images, depict battling Samurai, beheadings, and even prostitution. This leads you to believe that "everyday life", was rather exciting in ancient Japan. However, most Ukiyo-e prints were more tame scenes of everything from women washing clothes, to men writing poetry.

After creating the template, the artist would then have another artisan carve large blanks of wood with those images. The carved wood blocks were then given to yet another artisan, known as an "inker". The inker would then carefully apply wet ink or colorful paint to the various carved surfaces. A sheet of handmade paper was then pressed over the inked woodblock to create the final print. The process was laborious, but not as tedious as hand-painting hundreds of copies from scratch.


About This Reproduction

If this was an "original" Japanese woodblock print, dating back to the Edo period, the price would be anywhere from $800 to $20,000.
Just to be clear again: This is a reproduction.
The quality of this reproduction is very good, but a true expert will spot this as a reproduction after examining it for a few moments.

I use handmade kozo (mulberry) paper - the same kind of paper that Japanese woodblock print makers used centuries ago.
The pigment-based inks are archival and UV-resistant. The ink manufacturer claims that the giclée prints created with this ink will last 200 years if not in direct sunlight. I figure you'll get a lifetime of enjoyment if you take good care of this wall scroll. I spend hours making sure the colors are vibrant, and touching up areas that might be damaged or missing from the old original print. The result is very close to what the woodblock print would look like if you could go back in time to the Edo period, and buy it from the artist's studio in old Japan.

For years I tried to find a printer that could handle handmade paper without wrinkling, jamming, or clogging print heads. I bought and tried several giclée printers valued at up to $15,000 each. They gave mixed results, I finally found the quality I was looking for in a brand-new Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-2000. This printer has 18,432 nozzles and 12 ink tanks. That's 12 ink tanks costing up to $294 each. With the price of the printer at $2,695 it was a total investment of about $6,000 - which is not a price tag for the faint of heart.
I have to use this printer in the USA to create the print, as I can't get a license for such a machine at my other studio in Beijing (The Chinese government fears that I will make counterfeit Chinese currency, or Pro-Democracy propaganda posters with it).

After carefully printing and inspecting this artwork, I sent the raw print on kozo paper to my workshop in Beijing where it was built into a handmade wall scroll. This makes it ready-to-hang (no expensive framing needed), and gives the whole piece a very traditional Asian look.

Because the artist of this piece passed away long ago, and the original artwork is over 100 years old, there is no copyright. However, in some cases, I have paid a license fee to the owner of the original Japanese woodblock print for access to create the digitized image. In a few cases, I bought original 200-year-old woodblock prints and drum-scanned it at high-resolution.

All of this effort on my part means you get a really beautiful Japanese woodblock print reproduction, for a very affordable price. I am not sure I will ever make a profit on these (I would need to charge about double this price if that was the goal), but I really like to make unique Asian artwork affordable and accessible to everyone.

Want a customized wall scroll or custom sized print? Just contact me!

I can print this larger, on the paper texture of your choice, and give you whatever silk brocade colors you want. It does take several weeks, but worth the wait if you want something really custom and unique.

This item was listed or modified
Jun 30th, 2018

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Gary's random little things about China:

More traffic tidbits:

Parking your car on the sidewalk is legal in most places in China. I am talking fully on the sidewalk, and fully blocking the sidewalk, so that nobody can walk there at all. After all, there is a perfectly good roadway for pedestrians and cars to share just past the edge of the sidewalk - right?
In many urban areas, there is a sidewalk parking attendant who will ensure that you park in such a way that no one can use the sidewalk at all. They will also charge a fee of 2 Yuan (26 cents) for up to a full day of sidewalk parking privileges.

The green light means "go". The Yellow light means "20 more cars should enter the intersection". The red light means "5 more cars enter the intersection and become a nuisance to pedestrians trying to cross the street".
Actually, the green light means "Try to go, but you'll probably have to wait for the yellow or red light before you get your chance".

If you get in a car accident, it's best to argue briefly with the other driver, and then both drive away. When the police get involved, everyone gets fined, and someone might lose their license. The fines are generally higher than what it will cost to fix your car, so hanging around to exchange insurance information is rare in minor fender-benders.
If your car is too damaged to drive away, you are screwed. The police own and operate all of the tow trucks in most Chinese cities. You will be fined, charged for towing, charged an impound fee, and may lose your license.

On long stretches of highway, police checkpoints are occasionally set up. They may be stopping drivers and summarily fining them for wearing sunglasses or talking on a mobile phone while driving. However, in the next stretch of highway, another police checkpoint may be issuing fines for driving without sunglasses.

Under certain circumstances, and if you are really unlucky, drivers who get in injury accidents while drunk may be executed. If you are caught drinking and driving just once, you will be fined, and will probably lose your drivers license for the rest of your life.
Thus, drunk driving has become very rare in China.

Typical Gallery Price: $130.00

Your Price: $58.88