Shibata Zeshin: Dandelion Floating on a Leaf-Boat

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Artist: Shibata Zeshin (1807-1891)
Title: Dandelion Floating on a Leaf-Boat
Series: Hana kurabe (A Comparison of Flowers)
Date: ca. 1880

We see a small butterfly about to land on the leaves of a dandelion that has been placed on a type of leaf boat construction. It is definitely floating upon water, and perhaps the papers held by the stick are to act as a type of sail. Leaf boats were usually constructed as a toy out of bamboo leaves in Japan.The series Hana Kurabe was published between 1875 and 1890 in ten groups of 12 prints each, and showcase Zeshin’s terrific mastery of the Rimpa style and his sly sense of humor. Zeshin was considered one of the greatest lacquer artists of all time, and he was a superlative painter as well.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. 
Dimensions: chûban (19 x 25.6 cm)
Publisher: Shogyokudo
Signature: Zeshin 

Literature: This design is in the Freer/Sackler National Museum of Asian Art. The Brooklyn Museum, MIA, and Smithsonian all have of works from this series in their collections.