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Hishikawa Moronobu, Japanese, (1618–1694)
From the book "Man and Dog Beside Fence", c. 1660
Ink on Paper
9 7/8 in. x 6 9/16 in. (250.83 mm x 166.69 mm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. James W. Johnson
Accession Number: 46.1.73


Commentary
Hishikawa Moronobu (1618-1694) is the first identifiable ukiyo-e master, initially trained in Japanese painting. With a growing literacy rate amongst Edo residents, a market developed for affordable books. The woodblock printing medium allowed publishers to use one set of carved blocks to print thousands of copies at a time, giving the townsfolk an inexpensive alternative to handwritten books or scrolls. Throughout his printing career, Moronobu created more than 150 books, which primarily consisted of black ink on white paper.

"Man and Dog beside Fence" is an example of hand-coloring applied after the single block was imprinted on the page. This print is a single page from a book, with the image illustrating the story above it. Stylistically, this print is traditionally Japanese, with a high point of view and sharp diagonals cutting across the composition. The painterly thick and thin lines also reference Moronobu's background in painting, revealing how the technique in one medium influenced the style of the other.

Marks
On mat in pencil: Man and Dog Beside Fence, Moronobu, 46.1.73, Jo I 2. On verso of print, in pencil: Man and Dog Beside Fence, Moronobu, 46.1.73, Jo I 2. Japanese text in the upper 1/3 of the image.

Medium
Colored ink on paper; woodblock print.

Object Description
Edo period color woodblock print of a man, who appears relaxed, and a sleeping dog, next to a tree and a fence.

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