Yoshikuni: Osaka Fire and Firemen (SOLD)

  • Sold.

Artist: Nomura Yoshikuni (1836-1904)
Title: Fire and Firemen in Osaka Harbor
Series: Famous Views of Osaka and Kyoto (Keihan meisho zue)
Date: 1885 (Meiji 18)

We see three firemen in profile on a rooftop, lower right, as they watch several wooden ships at harbor burn in a ferocious blaze. The standing fireman holds the kamoi, or standard of his brigade. They all carry the hooked poles that are the primary tools of firefighters. We see firemen approaching the flames from small boats; the sky is completely filled with smoke. Orange lead pigment was used to imitate the look of smoke, as it would oxidize in a way that brought to mind flames. These prints were created at a time of fascination of western techniques, so there was also a layer of imitation “varnish” painted over the finished design, applied to give the work the “western” look of an oil painting. Often this varnish layer completely obscures the print over time, but here the effect has not been too deleterious.  Extremely scarce.

Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Untrimmed and unbacked. There are areas in the water where the “varnish” has created minor stains.
Dimensions: ôban (24.5 x 35.5 cm)
Publisher: Ikeda Fusajiro, Kyoto
Seal: Noda Norishichi (Tenshichi)
Signature: Kyo (Kyoto) Yoshikuni hitsu