A Large Pyrogravure Surimono Print by Ryomin. 1850s. Ex. Henri Vever Collection
21 7/8 x 15 5/8 ins. (53 x 39.7 cms)
We purchased this print from the 4th. Vever Sale at Sothebys in March 22nd.1978, lot 362.
The sale was not described as the Vever Collection as it comprised the remnants of the collection and the Vever family declined to have their name used as many of the prints were in poor condition or did not bear the Vever seal. This large surimono print bears the seal of the Henri Vever Collection. These very rare prints are sometimes referred to as pyrogravures as the designs are burnt on to the paper. How it was done is a question of speculation. Perhaps the design is printed from an un-inked block and the details burnt onto the paper with a hot metal tool. However, another possible explanation is that the whole thing was done freehand and the absence of burn marks on the reverse would tend to support this theory. If this was indeed the case then only one example would be possible. As far as we are aware there is no mention of these curiosities in English language reference books.
The turtle is a potent symbol of longevity and good luck etc. and consequently a very popular motif in surimono design. There is a very similar print on the website ukiyo-e.org (put the name ryomin in the search box) which is in the Museum of Fine Art in Boston. The printing is on heavy quality surimono paper.
The print is in good condition with no wormage. There is a repair to the top left corner where the paper has become crumpled and some discolouration to the bottom left corner (cause unknown). Across the top is faint dust marking.
PLEASE INSPECT PHOTOGRAPHS CAREFULLY. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS AN ORIGINAL PUBLICATION NOT A REPRINT OR FACSIMILE
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