A Fine Japanese Ink & Colour Drawing of Children Playing. Attrib. to Kyosai. Meiji
14 x 11 ins.(35.5 x 27.9 cms) This superb drawing in the Shijo style shows three boys playing with spinning tops. One of the boys is cradling a cat in his arms. Note the look of anticipation in the attitude of the lower boy on the left. He crouches, concentrating, with his hands open waiting for the top to fall over. The trousers of the boy are rendered in ink wash without outline.
Our attribution to the great draughtsman, Kyosai (1831-89), is based on the fact that 30-odd years ago we sold a group of drawings of children playing which, like the present drawing, had originally been part of a makimono (horizontal scroll), one of which had a Kyosai signature. The present drawing was part of the group but unfortunately the purchaser sold the others many years ago. The subject may not be one commonly associated with Kyosai but he was an artist who was a master of many styles and this drawing demonstrates the virtuoso brush work for which he was famous. The partial washes of flesh colour on the faces, while not unique to Kyosai, was certainly a device used again and again in his drawings. Rapidly executed drawings of this quality readily revealed weaknesses in an artist's technique and conception and such skill, as is demonstrated here, was only achieved after many years of practice and study. Note the economy of line in the drawing of the tops!
The drawing is in excellent condition with no damage and no fading. The vertical central line in the paper is a join in the paper, makimono, because of their length could only be achieved by the joining of sheets of paper.
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