Bathing in Cold Water
Japanese Nude Woman Woodblock Print Repro Scroll

Bathing in Cold Water - Japanese Nude Woman Woodblock Print Repro Scroll
Bathing in Cold Water - Japanese Nude Woman Woodblock Print Repro Scroll
120.2cm
47¼"
46.4cm
18¼"

Typical Gallery Price: $150.00

Your Price: $66.88


• Delivered to you in Ashburn by Aug 13th.
• Standard shipping is just $3.80 for any order.
• Limited Edition Print - I might make more.
• Fine Art Giclée Print.
• Handmade Wall Scroll.
• Money-Back Guarantee.

Approximate Measurements

Artwork Panel: 28.3cm x 58.3cm ≈ 11" x 23"

Silk/Brocade: 37.4cm x 120.2cm ≈ 14¾" x 47¼"

Width at Wooden Knobs: 46.4cm ≈ 18¼"

Information about caring for your wall scroll
See Larger Image
蘭湯灔々昭儀坐其中

Bathing In Cold Water

Cold Spring Bath

Bathing in Cold Water - Japanese Nude Woman Woodblock Print Repro Scroll close up view

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

This depicts the back of a nude woman as she steps into a bathtub. Images of nude beauty like this are rare in Ukiyo-e. Here, the softness of women's skin and the graceful depiction of the neckline portray the ideal beauty of Japanese women unique to the artist Utamaro.

It is believed that this may be Shogi (Shogi in Japanese or Zhaoyi in Chinese), a lady-in-waiting officer of the Western Han, who is soaking in the Lantang (Lantang = orchid bath). The original image was probably made around 1799 (11th year of Kansei) judging from the subject matter and known history of the artwork.

The commonly-known title of this image is 寒泉浴図 ("Bathing In Cold Water", "Kansen Bath Image", or "Cold Spring Bath"), though on this version it's written 蘭湯灔々昭儀坐其中 meaning "Shogi of Han sits in the Lantang".

At the lower left, you will find a signature with the pen name 歌麿筆 (Utamaro Hitsu). The artist's full name is 喜多川歌麿 (Kitagawa Utamaro). He was born in Japan in Edo (now known as Tokyo) around 1753. He only lived to the age of 53, dying in 1806.

Utamaro is one of the most highly regarded designers of ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings being most prolific in the 1770s thru 1790s. He was one of very few ukiyo-e artists to gain exceptional fame during his own lifetime.

There are additional characters on this artwork after the title 蘭湯灔々昭儀 坐其中...
...若三尺寒泉
浸明玉
録飛燕別集語   鴬谷吏垣
But I have not yet translated this fully. It's in kind of classical Japanese with influence from Chinese grammar of that era (hard to translate).

Original artist: Kitagawa Utamaro / 喜多川歌麿 (1753-1806).
Publisher: Kaneko Fusui or Shin'eidô Original woodblock was created in Japan, in 1799.


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 perspective, 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.

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. In independent laboratory testing the giclée prints created with this ink should survive 95 years with no signs of fading, if not in direct sunlight (this will outlast hand-painted artwork under the same conditions). 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.

James Cowart and Canon Giclee Printer

A photographer that I admire, Jeremy Cowart, and his Canon imagePROGRAF printer.

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 more than $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. Ready-to-frame prints can be delivered in a few days. However, it does take several weeks for custom wall scrolls. Either way, it's worth the wait if you want something really custom and unique.

This item was listed or modified
Jul 23rd, 2022

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Typical Gallery Price: $150.00

Your Price: $66.88


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