Bijin in the Meireki Era

This is an original color wood block print by Japanese artist Toyohara Chikanobu.  It is from his series "Mirror of the Ages" (Jidai Kagami)  This one is from the Meirek Era

1655-1658)  This image was created and printed in 1897, published by Matsuki Heikichi.  The image measures 12 1/2X8 1/4 inches, sheet size is 14 1/8X9 1/4 inches. 

 This whole series is one of the outstanding achievements of late nineteenth century Japanese art. One of his best series, A Mirror of the Ages showed women by fashion and hair style throughout history. There is of course the longing for the past and yet these prints are unmistakably modern and of their time. The subject in each print is the finely rendered foreground figure shown as a portrait head and in the upper quarter, a scene in grisaille from the chosen period. The quality of printing is outstanding, especially in Chikanobu’s use of white for the rendering of the powdered faces. It is often forgotten by art historians that this was the period above all others when the technique of woodblock printing achieved its zenith whilst at the same time there were artists of stature to execute it.