Toshikazu: Japanese Clockmakers at Work
Artist: Hosoki Toshikazu (Dates unknown)
Title: Watchmaker/Clockmakers at Work
Series: Competition of Various Forms of Craftmanship
Fascinating image from a very interesting series showing glimpses inside the workshops of various types of Japanese craftspeople. Here we see two horologists (watchmakers) constructing or repairing western-style clocks. On the workbench in front of them is an array of springs and gears, as well as tools for clock repair. The man at right wears spectacles and holds a gear in his left hand and a rasp in his right. On the wall is an array of Western-style clocks; have these all been built by the Japanese, or are they imported European clocks that are for sale? In front of the workbench with the two busy specialists we see a dog sitting up to beg from a standing man at left. He seems to be pointing towards the dog and shrugging twoards a man at a differnt table who holds a pipe, who is perhaps taking a break. The red carpet with peacock feather motif is obviously imported. The artist has gone to great pains to show accurate markings on the clocks on the wall. The traditional Japanese clocks that used the seasonal time system were replaced by the fixed time system in 1873. Very scarce. There are surprisingly few prints that show craftspeople at work in the Meiji period. This artist must be a student of Yoshitoshi, and other images from this series include prints that show women weaving and a workshop of ukiyo-e printers.
Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Very minor repairs at left edge of margin.
Dimensions: ôban (36.3 x 24.5 cm)
Publisher: Kiso Naojiro