The painter and print artist Kawanabe Kyōsai kept careful records of various painting commissions he carried out. Several volumes survive in the Kawanabe Kyōsai Museum and at the National Diet Library, both in Tokyo. During the years between March 1887 and the last month of 1889 he used the same type of paper as seen in the Metropolitan’s example. He printed himself the frames for each page and the cartouche in blue ink, and then wrote in the details in ink and sometimes applied hand stamps for certain regular clients. The Met’s example is created for a February, but the year is not indicated. Yet, from other surviving records, we know that on February 5, 12, 19, and 26 of 1888, Kyōsai visited the architect Josiah Conder to give him lessons in sketches. We can assume that he had used the precut stamp of Captain Brinkley (ブレンキ君), a foreigner to signal his visits to Conder’s home, as he had done on other occasions. It was known that he regularly visited Conder’s home on Saturdays around this time.
Artist: Kawanabe Kyōsai (Japanese, 1831–1889)Date: 1881Medium: Set of two woodblock-printed books (one volume orihon, accordion-style); ink and color on paper
Accession: 2013.766a, bOn view in:Not on view