Onoe Kikugorō in the role of Yaoya Oshichi and Nakamura Kiyosaburō as her lover the koshō (page) Kichisaburō
Okumura Masanobu (Japanese, 1686–1764)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
16 x 11 1/4 in. (40.6 x 28.6 cm)
The Howard Mansfield Collection, Purchase, Rogers Fund, 1936
Not on view
The invention of color block printing by the mid-eighteenth century irrevocably transformed the vigorous early ukiyo-e style. The new technique, which used separate blocks for each color, placed greater attention on coordinating the component parts and emphasized the process of color overlays. Masanobu's pioneering efforts in the field of color printing advanced a new aesthetic, one in which the essential quality of the print was dependent on line and color. As the articulation of the early ukiyo-e artist's virtuosic line diminished, a new style featuring graceful and lyrical lines bound to color harmonies emerged.