A pair of Japanese Woodblocks each in a fine custom matted frame with fine ebony and gilt decorations. Each signed and dated on the reverse. Listed below.
-A courtyard lady in a commercial robe. By: Chikanobu Printed 1893
-Three court ladies in a ceremonial robe. By: Chikanobu Printed 1896
Toyohara Chikanobu (Yoshu Chikanobu) 1838 – 1912
It is tempting to call Chikanobu the ‘lost artist of the Meiji’. In a sense that assessment is true; Chikanobu was a very fine maker of woodblock prints who, with his contemporaries Yoshitoshi and Kunichika, documented the cultural struggle of the emergent Japan of the modern era. As a young man, Chikanobu was a student of the great ukiyo-e artists, Kuniyoshi, Kunisada and Kunichika, although he didn’t become a serious artist until later in his career.
Biographically, perhaps more than any artist, Chikanobu experienced the changing politics of Japan in the late nineteenth century. Like French impressionist artists such as Degas and Manet, who manned the barricades in the siege of Paris in 1870, Chikanobu saw action fighting on the side of the defeated Tokugawa Shogunate against the modernising and reinstated Emperor’s forces at the battle of Hakodate in 1868.