(JAPANESE PRINTING). [UTAGAWA, Hiroshige III]. ~ 大日本物産圖會 東京錦繪製造之図 [Dai Nihon Bussan Zue: Tōkyo Nishiki-e Seizō no Zu, ‘Pictorial Record of Japanese Products: Making Nishiki-e in Tokyo’]. [Tōkyō: Ōkura Magobē, Meiji 10 1877].
One colour woodblock-printed leaf 171 x 238 mm from the Dai Nihon Bussan Zue series, presumably removed from an orihon abum with washi remnants on the verso and the fold to centre. Margins lightly trimmed. Occasional small marks, light thumbing. Text in Japanese.
A revealing illustration of a woodblock printing workshop in Tokyo in the 1870s. The woodblock print provides a wealth of information on the woodblock printing industry in Meiji era Japan, including paper-cutting, printing, bookbinding, fan-making, displaying and selling. There is a clear division of labour between men and women, working together in the same scene. Fans are hung from the ceiling, and at the front of the shop landscape nishikie, portrait nishiki-e, and books are strung up for display. The scroll-shaped panel in the upper right of the illustration gives a description of the printing process. The 118 prints in the Dai Nihon Bussan Zue series illustrate the manufacturing processes of typical products around Japan and were produced in the same year as the First National Industrial Exhibition. The series was published in an orihon concertina-bound format, hence the faint vertical crease to the centre of this print.