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Sleeping Heron from the series Seihō's Masterpieces


 Japanese Color Collotype Print

Sleeping Heron

from the series Seihō's Masterpieces (set one)

(Seihō's ippin shū)

by Takeuchi Seihō, 1937

IHL Cat. #898

About This Print and the Series Seihō's Masterpieces

This print titled Sleeping Heron was released on July 25, 1937 as part of the first of two sets of sixty-six prints titled Seiho's Masterpieces (a.k.a. Seihō's Masterworks), printed and issued by Unsōdō Publishing

This print, which is also in the Spencer Collection at the New York Public Library, was issued as one of four prints in the second envelope of set one.  The colophon, shown below, pasted to the envelope, gives the dates of printing and issue, the titles of the prints, copyright information, and information about the publisher.

A combination of print processes (see further discussion see the article "Takeuchi Seihō: Seihō's Masterpieces.") were used for this series and this particular print is a collotype1 as can be seen by the reticulated pattern in the below detail, an artifact of the collotype process. 

Click on image to see the reticulated pattern identifying this print as a collotype.

Colophon Envelope 2 Set One
Date of issue reads Showa 12 (1937), 7th month, 25th day
Date of printing reads Showa 12 (1937), 7th month, 15th day
click on image to enlarge

The Series "Seihō's Masterpieces"

For images of all sixty-six prints and a description of the series, please go to the article "Takeuchi Seihō: Seihō's Masterpieces."

1 Collotype printing had its first commercial use in Japan in 1889.  The collotype photographic process was versatile and could produce high quality images on different types of paper. Collotype prints can be readily identified by the presence of image reticulation, a product of the finely cracked gelatin plate used to print the image, which can be seen under magnification. The size of the reticulation varies from print to print, but cannot be seen by the naked eye. The image can be a variety of colors.  Prints made from collotype plates can be either hand printed or printed using a press. For more information on the process open the attachment link at the bottom of this page titled "The Collotype Process".

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #898
 TitleSleeping Heron(
To the left is the lab
el attached to the rear of the sheet the print is tipped to.  It reads: 

Across the top: 不許複製 All rights reserved

Rightmost column: 竹内栖鳳先生筆 Takeuchi Seihō sensei hitsu with title of print 眠鷺 to its left. 

Leftmost column: 芸艸堂 publisher's name Unsōdō, copyright restrictions and addresses of Unsōdō's offices in Kyoto and Tokyo.

 Series Seihō's Masterpieces (栖鳳逸品集 Seihō's ippin shū) (set 1)
 Takeuchi Seihō (1864-1942)
 Seal unread seal as shown above
 Publication Date July 25, 1937 (as printed on colophon for envelope 2 containing the print)
 Edition original and only edition
 Publisher  Unsōdō Publishing
 Printer Shinmi Saburō 新味 三朗
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Miscellaneous removed from its original heavy paper backing/matting, but still with original mat.
 Genre nihonga (also classed as e-hon, as the series prints exist as bound volumes)
 Format chutanzaku
 H x W Paper 15 3/8 x 5 3/8 in. (39.1 x 13.7 cm )
 Collections This Print New York Public Library, Spencer Collection; Rijksmuseum RP-P-2005-615-12
 Reference Literature The Artist and the Book in Japan, Roger S. Keyes, The University of Washington Press with New York Public Library, December 2006, p. 252-253; The Art of the Japanese Book, 2 vols., Jack Hillier, Sotheby's Publications, 1987, p. 992-993.

Irwin Lavenberg,
Jun 13, 2017, 1:53 PM