Gekko's Essays (Gekko Zuihitsu)

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Gekko’s Zuihitsu (Essays) is comprised of 47 individual prints plus a title page. They are Oban size and the earliest dated print is 1886. The whole series had been issued by 1887 and it must have been a popular set as prints dating right through the 1890’s up until 1899 can be found. Published by Matsuki Heikichi, small variations between editions can be found in a number of the prints. In the earlier issued prints oxidisation of the red used in the cartouche seems fairly common. Gekko introduces us to a veritable riot of characters, including famous scholars, warriors, mythical beasts, gods and even an ogre. Whilst stylistically some of his later series are more pleasing to the eye this series shows all the enthusiasm and verve of an artist still in his late 20’s. One confusion for collectors is the existance of 3 other prints from 1884 also bearing the title Gekko’s Zuihitsu. Little is known about these prints, but they are easily differentiated from the normal series as they are in a distinctly different style and the story box next to the title cartouche is much larger. They can be found in the “Other Prints” pages.

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