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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Takayama woodcuts

This afternoon I have been going through my box of ‘stuff collected in Japan’ and scanning various maps, leaflets, tickets and postcards.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time so that, when I started to design and lay out my physical book version of Five Thousand Miles (my Japan travel journal, web version is here), I would have lots of scanned resources as well as digital photos. However, I’m now well into designing the book – five out of seventeen days, plus introduction pages, are provisionally designed – and have only just scanned everything. Well, not literally everything I collected but everything that I think might be useful or nice to have included in the book.

I came across one of two sets of postcards that I bought for myself in Japan – the other being the Hiroshige postcards, half of which are now framed on my bedroom wall. This set of postcards I bought in Takayama and they feature images of the town printed from woodcuts. They caught my eye in the Japanese gift shop at the time and it was lovely to rediscover them again today.

Kokubunji temple
Takayama festival float
morning market
Gassho (traditional buildings)
the old streets

Now, I’ve no idea who the artist is although I have tried to find out. First, I attempted to translate some of the Japanese text on the back of each postcard but whatever I typed into Google just came up with the Japanese post service! So, that was a fail. Then I tried a ‘search by image’ tactic which worked, sort of. It only came up with this one website and it doesn’t actually name an artist. Although, I think that website is a place that runs workshops in printing in this style, so I imagine they were printed at one of those workshops. Maybe? Or maybe it’s just a shop. I don’t know!

I assume the little red graphic in the corner is the artist’s signature but I have no idea what it means. So it is, unfortunately, a mystery… unless someone who reads Japanese and/or has a very keen interest in Japanese art can help me out?

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