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Okumura Masanobu

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Okumura Masanobu
Edo Okumura Woodblock print
Japanese, (1686–1764) Okumura Shimmyo (Chikatae). F.N.: Genroku, later Gempachi. Go: Baio, Bunkaku, Hogetsudo, Masanobu, Shidoken, Tanchosai.
Okumura Masanobu was one of the most important figures in ukiyo-e circles, and an innovator who influenced the entire course of ukiyo-e. He studied for a while with Torii Kiyonobu, but was largely self-taught. His work shows influence of Hishikawa Moronobu. Masanobu was the proprietor of a shop which handled illustrated books and prints. Books illustrated by him were produced as early as 1701; in 1724 he began to publish his own prints, and later published those of his pupil Okumura Toshinobu. He may have been the first to make the change from hand coloring to color printing after the process was invented in 1741. He invented hashira-e, the uki-e (or bird's-eye view pictures), and was the first to introduce the use of lacquer in the urushi-e. Lacquer was used to heighten the colors of the print, and Masanobu's prints are remarkable for the richness of effect, using only two colors in addition to the back of the outline block (these early two-color prints are always in green and red). He also set the fashion for bijinga: single sheet portraits of famous beauties, rendered with much elegance. Masanobu' s prints are very rare.

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