Unsigned: Toy Print Omocha-e of Game Boards

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Artist: Unknown Utagawa School Artist
Title: New Version of  a Variety of Things (Shin-ban iroiro-zukushi)
Date: ca 1863

Omocha-e of a variety of games and paper crafting cut-out toys. This omocha-e (a type of toy print) dates from the late Edo period, and as such it is very rare, as most cut-out prints date from the Meiji Period. This work is titled “New Version of  a Variety of Things” (Shin-ban iroiro-zukushi). From the top, we see helmets and a mounted samurai at left (musha katsura), and to the right it says “New Version: Dice Game of Famous Places in the Eastern Capital “Shin-ban Toto meisho sugoroku”. Sugoroku game-board prints were popular in the 19th century, but such game boards are generally quite large and are comprised of several oban sheets glued together. Is it possible to play with such a miniature versions as this? It is difficult to know if this presents miniature versions of omocha-e that might be available in larger versions. Next down is Shinban hako-zukushi, or a variety of boxes. We can see that these could be cut out to form tiny boxes, with a male and female portrait that would somehow be affixed. To the right it is a New Version of a Shogi Game Board (Shin-ban Shogi-ban). Next down is the New version of Hikeshi Fireman’s items, comprised of a water pump (!), a jacket, lanterns and a standard, as well as firefighting tools. To the right it says New Version: Board and 16 Stones from the game 16 Musashi (Shinban ju-roku Musashi). At the bottom we see several cut-out dolls with what looks like a screen of some sort. The title is “New Version: Kimono for Women” (Shin-ban anesama kimono). To the right is a tiny, miniature book that says “New Version: Textbooks of Singing” (Shin-ban keiko-bon). This lyric sheet (?) seems to be for shakuhachi flute and kiyomoto. Regarding the date, the combined date-aratame censor seal seems to be be from 1863. This would jibe with the time that this publisher was active, between the dates of 1862 and 1865. Other examples of Omocha-e may be found at the Kumon Museum of Children’s Ukiyo-e website.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Some areas of wormage. Unbacked.

Publisher: Daikichi (Daikoku-ya Kichinosuke) 大黒屋吉之助
Dimensions: 35.5 x 19.5 cm  
Signed: Unsigned, as usual