--- To the Beauties of Four Seasons Opening Page ---
After five years of making Surimono Albums, I felt that it was time to take a break and work on something else for a while. I certainly didn't think that I had 'mined' all that I could from those Albums, and indeed, will probably return to do another one in the near future, but felt that it was time for a bit of a change of pace!
The theme wasn't too difficult to find, as collectors here in Japan have been after me for years to make more prints of the 'bijin-ga' type (literally: beautiful woman pictures). Now I don't make prints 'to order' but I too am interested in doing work like this, and when I was thinking over many possible ideas for this year's project, this one bubbled up to the top.
Once I had basically settled on the overall concept - the theme and the schedule - I had to make a choice about the four designs to use. Although the selection to choose from is vast indeed, I didn't want four 'random' designs, but four that would fit a number of varied criteria:
- of course fit the seasonal theme
- blend together well to make a unified set
- offer me a personal challenge in the making
- not be so difficult that I couldn't handle the job
- be attractive to potential collectors
- be affordable to produce
- cover a logical historical sequence
Given that many bases to cover, it wasn't easy at all, but I finally selected four designs that I think fit the bill. The first one is a fan print designed by Yashima Gakutei, whose work appears a number of times in my Surimono Albums. It is a mid-Edo design, but depicts a Heian-era court lady. It represents Spring in this Album. The other three prints follow a gradually advancing chronology:
- summer: an Edo-era image ...
- autumn: a Meiji-period image ...
... and perhaps you can imagine when the winter print was designed ...
(The series was well-subscribed during 2004 - the year it was made - but is not yet 'sold out'. If you would like to collect these prints, and wish to enter a 'back issue' subscription, information on how to do so is on this page).
Thank you for your interest in this work!