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Sumo & the Japanese Woodblock Print Masters - Bickford

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Sumo & the Japanese Woodblock Print Masters - Bickford


Sumo and the Woodblock Print Masters


Lawrence Bickford, Kodansha International, Tokyo, Japan, 1994, 9.75" - 12" tall, hard cover with dust jacket, Condition: VG. Forward by Jack Hiller. Many color and b/w plates.  First Edition. This work features over 200 rare prints, color and black & white, from a private collection.
Few aspects of Japan have received as much attention as the ukiyo-e woodblock print. The work of Hokusai, Hiroshige, and of the masters of the genre continue to influence artists and designers today even as they did in the time of Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Gauguin.

While the sumo print remains one of the most sought after and intriguing of all woodcuts, Sumo and the Woodblock Print Masters is the first book devoted entirely to this fascinating subgenre. The dual themes of sport and art have also made it one of the most elusive to trace. Sumo wrestling constituted one of the major forms of entertainment of old Japan, and one of the most dramatic. Rivalries and bouts between wrestlers were recounted with as much enthusiasm as the fights of Ali and Tyson were discussed in our era. Wrestlers rocketed to stardom and fell just as swiftly. Artists grappled with problems of perspective and dramatic depiction and factors of fame: how to capture the drama of two champions clashing in the ring; how to do so to advantage and win every fan's approval; how to depict the fichgers' unique combination of bulk, agility, and grace.The challenges inherent in the sumo print were formidable, yet most of the legendary ukiyo-e artists tackled them -- almost always with success. As a result, the variety, vigor and dramatic play of the sumo print are among the most fascinating aspects of Japanese art.

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