2 weeks ago
More Hiroshige today! I will let Dave do the talking: This little print is a very unusual item in our HangaClub series - although it was printed here in our Mokuhankan workshop, we did not do the carving. We made this print using an antique set of blocks, dating from sometime in the pre-war period (perhaps the 1930s). We have been haunting auction sites for such blocks, and were recently able to make a purchase of a number of old sets, some in useable condition, some warped and aged beyond repair. This block set wasn't perfect, and there are some places where the wood has been knocked or worn a bit, leaving some slight defects in the print, but we felt that it was still worthwhile using for production.
It was the Takamizawa Company - at the time the pre-eminent workshop for doing such work - who produced this block set. All of us here at Mokuhankan were astonished when we inspected the carving; not just the microscopic level of detail, but the taste and finesse of the work. Although we here have no reason to be embarrassed by the work we are currently doing, it has been a bit eye-opening to realize that there are mountains still waiting to be climbed!
As for the image itself, there is an interesting twist. It was created by Hiroshige, and entitled 'Clearing Weather after Snowfall at Massaki', from a series of famous places in the capital, but when Takamizawa made their production, they made it 'Snowfall at Massaki', by simply cutting the blocks to create white flakes all over the image. Our printer was not so happy about that change, as it is much more difficult to print!
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