Shibata Zeshin: Crows in Flight at Sunrise

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Artist: Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)
Title: Crows in Flight at Sunrise
Date: ca. late 1920s

Two crows fly against a brilliant orange sky, the tail of a third glimpsed at left. This quintessentially Zeshin composition, with the majority of the page left “blank” as sky, was so popular that it has been republished numerous times. This image of crows against a sunrise was originally published in the upper corner of a large Shijo surimono that was printed in 1887 and consisted mostly of rows of poetry. It was then made into a shikishiban (small square) print (by Daikokuya?) in about 1900. This is from a later edition that was printed in the late 1920s/early 1930s, as we can tell from the type of paper and the “Made in Japan” seal verso. Crows had many meanings imparted to them in Japanese culture; some of them inauspicious, and some of them favorable.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. 
Dimensions: 24.5 x 25.5 cm
Signature: Old man Zeshin at the age of 81 (Hachijuichi okina Zeshin)