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Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)
Ise-ebi - Japanese lobster (Panulirus japonicus)
Colour woodblock print with natural lacquer (urushi-e)
Date: c. 1880/90
Size: Vertical Ôban, 39,5 x 27,5 cm
Very good impression with natural lacquer (urushi) and colours. The signature also printed in lacquer. Backed. Few slight creases. Very good overall condition. Rare.
A trial print on a smaller paper size, from the black contour plate (kyōgōzuri-e) of this print is in the collection of the Edo Tokyo Museum, Inv. No. 17200401, dated to the late Edo/early Meiji period (?). The basis for this print was possibly an urushi painting by Zeshin, which today is in the collection of the British Museum, No. 1928,0720,0.40.
Printing (as well as painting) with natural urushi (the sap won from lacquer trees) on paper is due to material very difficult and was only tried by a few artists; particularly the great lacquer artist Zeshin experimented with it.
A number of Zeshin's lacquer prints can be found in the collection of the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design).