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Japanese woodblock print Genji

Masao Ebina Print - Kobai (Red Plum Blossoms)

SKU: ME003

Zusetsu was founded on a passion for and curiosity about Japan’s ancient capital Kyoto. The rich seam of beauty that is to be discovered in the city may be traced back to the 8th century when Kyoto became the auspicious new home of the Emperor and his court.


Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji details life at court, and many of the festivals, traditions, and artisan skills that may be found in this vibrant city today originated in this Heian era.


Zusetsu ART celebrates the Kyoto artist Masao Ebina, who naturally turned to the vibrant work of Murasaki Shikibu to complete a series of illustrations for each of the 54 chapters of The Tale of Genji, echoing in his fine art work the style of early Genji manuscript art.


Released in 1953, only 200 editions of each deluxe set were created. The Masao Ebina print that we present to you here today is a small part of one of these limited edition sets of illustrations.


This print features excellent colour and detail as shown in the photo. There may be slight paper remnants or thinning of the paper at the top edge owing to the original publisher mounting. There may be small spots or slight creases on the paper.


The most beautiful aspect of the print is the use of mica - in this print it is used to beautiful effect as golden line detail on the strings of Makibashira's koto. Her juunihitoe robes are finely patterned in soft grey hatching with a beautiful white pattern overlay. 


The plum tree beyond the villa is dotted with blossoms and lichens. 


Note, also, the symbol in the top right corner from the fragrance game Genjiko, which is a part of the incense ceremony known as kodo, one of the three classical arts of Japan. (You can read more about it here.)


Kobai (Red Plum Blossoms) is the 43rd chapter of The Tale of Genji. Makibashira asks her husband Kobai if he has sent Prince Niou a letter, and he replies, 'I did..His Highness likes plum blossoms, and I could not refrain from picking him a branch of the red plum over there by the eaves, since it is so beautiful now.' (Royall Tyler translation).


** Please note, the frame is not included**


    Dimensions :

    • The actual image size is 305mm x 210mm approx.
    • There is a small margin of between 8 and 15mm.

    Condition :

    • The overall condition is good.
    • There are one or two small scuffs of ink from the printing process in the margins.
    • There are one or two faint creases on the print.
    • On the back of the art at the top margin there are paper remnants where the print was once mounted. 
    • There is a red ink maker's stamp on the bottom left of the print.
    • There is beautiful detailed patterning on the koto that Makibashira plays - the strings are finally drawn in gold ink, and the instrument is edged in a fine golden pattern. The detail on her juunihitoe is beautiful too, with a cross-hatch pattern in soft grey printed over in white.

    Weight : 6 g.

    Woodblock print from Japan.

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