Bakufu: Fat Greenling (ainame アイナメ) (First Edition) (Sold)

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Artist: Ohno Bakufu (1888-1976)
Title: Fat Greenling (ainame アイナメ)   (First Edition)
Series: Great Japanese Fish Picture Collection 大日本魚類画集 (Dai Nihon yorui gashu) 
Date: 1940, October
Publisher: Nishinomiya Shoin

Three fat greenling are shown from three different angles against a seabed that includes a starfish and sea anemones. Here is the translation of the entry in the Japanese book on the series: "A fat greenling tastes good when it is boiled and seasoned. It is known as a speciality of Kanazawa in Musashi Province (present Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture). The best season is in April and May. Nowadays in Tokyo it is deep-fried and called kara-age, a kind of tempura dish. Kara-age is delicious year-round. A fat greenling may be found in shallow waters of some hiro (measurement for fishing: 1 hiro= 1,5m) in the inner bay. It is easy even for an ordinary person to catch them all year. It is said that its breeding season is November and December.”

Bakufu Ohno designed 72 prints in his “Art Portfolio of Familiar Fishes of Nippon”, which was published by the Kyoto publisher Nishinomiya Shoin in five volumes between 1937 and 1941. This series depicts fish indigenous to the waters of Japan. Works from this series are highly appreciated for their attention to detail and the extremely high printing quality. Later editions were printed by a different Kyoto publisher, but they lack the finesse of the first edition.

The woodblocks for the series were carved by Fujikawa Zosai and printed by two printers, Mitsumoto Joho and Negita Mannen. Each design was limited to an edition of 500  and the volumes were distributed under a subscription system.

Condition: Excellent impression and color; very good condition. Some minor wrinkles.
Dimensions: oban (28.4 x 40.5 cm) 
Signed: Bakufu

Reference: Art Portfolio of Fishes by Bakufu Ono by Reita Hirase, Akira Tomita, and Hiroko Shimizu, Tokyo Station Gallery, 2013, number 93.

Sealed: Carver's name "Fujikawa" and Printer's name "Mitsumoto" with a red seal, lower right corner.