ANDO HIROSHIGE
BASIL STEWART: A GUIDE TO JAPANESE PRINTS


GLOSSARY

Baren

The pad used by the printer when taking impressions from the wood-block.

Beni-ye

A print in which beni (or pink) predominates; a term generally applied to the two-colour prints immediately preceding the polychrome period.

Chuban

A medium-size vertical print, measuring about 11 inches by 8 inches.

Daiban

The outline or key-block cut by the engraver from the artist's original drawing.

Diptych

A composition complete in two sheets, generally side by side, but an unusual form.

Gauffrage

Blind printing - that is, without the application of colour. In this process the print is laid on the block face upwards (thus reversing the process when a colour impression is taken), which has the effect, on pressure being applied, of giving the design an embossed appearance. Used frequently on surimono, but only to a slight extent (e.g. on parts of dresses, blossom of trees, and flowers) on full-size prints.

Harimazè

Sheets of two or more subjects or designs printed on the one sheet and intended to be cut afterwards ; very uncommon. [Example: Set of Fifty- three Tokaido Stations, by Hiroshige, on fourteen sheets, arranged irregularly, three, four, or five views on one sheet. Title: Go-ju-san Tsugi Harimazè.]

Hashira-ye or Hashira-kakè

A long narrow print, about 27 inches by 5 inches wide, intended to hang from the pillars (hashira) of a Japanese house. Owing to the uses to which they were put, to adorn the living-rooms, few have survived to our day, and are consequently uncommon, and are nearly always discoloured by smoke. The origin of hashira-ye is not known, but they were designed by the Primitives, such as Okumura Masanobu and Torii Kiyoshige. The best ones were printed complete on one sheet, but late examples, such as those of the early nineteenth century by Shunsen, Yeizan, and Yeisen, are on two sheets joined together.

Hoso-ye

A small vertical print, 12 inches by 6 inches, often used for single actor-portraits (e.g. prints by Shunsho, Shunyei, Toyokuni, etc.). They were originally cut three on a block, and the print divided. It is very rare to find three such prints in an undivided state.

Ichimai-ye

A single-sheet print.

Kakemono-ye

Two full-size vertical sheets, one above the other, to form a complete picture when joined together.

Koban

A vertical print rather smaller than the Chuban, about 10 inches by 7 inches.

Mon

The crest worn by actors and others on the sleeve of their dress.

Nishiki-ye

Literally means brocade picture, and was first used in the time of Harunobu, but afterwards applied to all polychrome prints.

Oban

A full-size vertical print, 15 inches by 10 inches.

Otsu-ye

A roughly painted sketch, the forerunner of the print; first produced by Matabei at the village of Otsu on the Tokaido, hence their name. This Matabei (or Matahei [died c. 1720]) must not be confused with the better-known Iwasa Matabei.

Pentaptych

A composition consisting of five vertical sheets side by side.

Sumi-ye

A print in black and white only (sumi= black Chinese ink).

Surimono

A print issued for private circulation, like our Christmas, New Year, birthday, or invitation cards. They were lavishly embellished with gold, silver, bronze, and mother-of-pearl dust, and were printed on a thicker and softer paper than was usually employed for ordinary prints. They were almost square in shape, measuring 8 inches by 7 inches. (See Chapter IX.)

Tan-ye

A print in which tan (brick-red or orange colour) predominates; a term applied to early hand-coloured prints. Tan turns black with exposure in course of time, an effect often noticed in the prints of Hokusai and Hiroshige, who used this colour in depicting sky and cloud effects.

Tanjaku

(= tan, short, and shaku, a foot); or tanzaku ( = tan, short, and saku, a piece). Narrow slips, like miniature kakemono-ye, on which poems were inscribed. Used by Hiroshige for thumb-nail sketches of birds and flowers, slight figure-studies, etc.

Triptych

A composition of three vertical prints side by side. Hiroshige has designed some very rare triptychs, composed of three oblong sheets.

Uchiwa-ye

A print intended for mounting as a fan. Fans were in two shapes, the uchiwa, a round non-folding fan, and the ogi, or folding fan. Prints designed for fans are not common owing to the uses to which they were put, but the uchiwa shape is the one most frequently met with.

Ukiyè

Prints designed after European canons of drawing, with perspective; also means bird's-eye view pictures.

Urushi-ye

Prints in which transparent lacquer is used to heighten the colour-effect, a process said to have been invented by Okumura Masanobu.

Yoko-ye

A full-size horizontal print, 15 inches by 10 inches, corresponding to the oban, often used for landscape designs.