A Very Rare Japanese Woodblock Print by Hokusai. Ca. 1804. Edo Period.
14 3/8 x 9 3/4 ins. (36.5 x 24.8 cms) Around 1800 Hokusai designed a series of long narrow surimono about 52.2 cms. in length. Although striking and very interesting the rather unwieldy dimensions would presumably be expensive to print and difficult to present. The object was obviously to invoke the appearance of a makimono. According to Charlotte Van Rappard-Boon in "Hokusai & his School" published by the Ryksmuseum in Amsterdam in 1982, the existing blocks for these long prints were reduced in size circa 1804 to give an oban sized print which could be made into albums if required (see pl. 17 which has similar dimensions to the present print). Although usually described as surimono they do not fulfill the function of a surimono as there is no text and as all similar published prints of this type have no signature it can be assumed that the signatures were lost when the blocks were cut down. However, the printing is very like what one would expect on a surimono.
We have been unable to find another example of this design and several dealer friends with extensive experience have never encountered it. It is possible, but cannot be conclusively verified, that this print is the sole, or at least, very rare, survivor of the design. The design shows various stages in the processing of rice. As with the original long surimono there is a vacant space about 7 cms deep running laterally across the top of the print. It is possible that this was intended to contain any calligraphy the owner may be pleased to add.
The condition is good considering the age. There is slight fading but the original colours would have been muted anyway. There are 2 very neatly repaired tiny worm holes, some surface soiling and minor wear, a brown stain near the top left, some thin ink lines lower right corner and a vertical centrefold.
PLEASE NOTE THIS IS AN ORIGINAL PRINTING NOT A FACSIMILE OR REPRINT