Page:A history of Japanese colour-prints by Woldemar von Seidlitz.djvu/171

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BEGINNING OF WOOD-ENGRAVING

71

brush painting. Simple rounded outlines sufficed him to express force. His faces are long and oval in shape. His large sheets[1] are remarkable for their admirable distribution of the black spaces, whose effect is made still more striking by being picked out with lustrous vermilion. A subdued yellow and a green approaching to olive are also used. About 1715 the large pictures of actors were at the height of their popularity, and through them, as the Hayashi Catalogue (Introduction, p. iii) rightly remarks, Kiyonobu became the true founder of the popular style, the courtly style of Moronobu having hitherto reigned supreme. Subsequently, however, and up to the invention of two-colour printing, these large sheets were more and more replaced by the smaller narrow prints called hoso-ye, which were employed for choice by Shunsho as late as the second half of the eighteenth century. In his first period Kiyonobu had also done book-illustrations—the Hayashi Catalogue (No. 1426 seqq.) instances several which appeared at Yedo about 1690, and again from 1700 to 1705.

In the beginning Kiyonobu coloured with the orange-red (tan, a lead pigment) then universally used for the purpose, his sheets coming thence to be commonly designated as tan-ye, orange paintings. From about the year 1715, however, he used instead of this a carmine-red (beni, a vegetable juice), with which he combined violet, blue, and a brilliant yellow.[2] In the second decade Indian ink was added, which was covered with a lacquer varnish, and this for two decades remained the characteristic of the colouring of that period. Gold dust and, for white surfaces, powdered mother of pearl (mica), were also used. These hand-coloured prints were called urushi-ye, lacquer pictures. It was just at this time, when the hand-

  1. Illustration in Hayashi Cat., No. 197.
  2. According to a statement in the Kokka Magazine, tan was displaced at the beginning of the period of Kioho (1716-35) by beni (Deshayes in L'Art, 1893, ii. 10).