Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Kanzaka, Sekka, A Flight of Butterflies, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thames and Hudson, 1979

This is a beautiful facsimile of a book in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the original was printed in April 1904 by the Japanese publishing house Yamada Unsodo, illustrated with woodblock prints by Kanzaka Sekka.

Reproduced in the introduction to this new version is a preface by Yoshi Zo that was printed in the the original version, and he includes the following text in his introductory essay:

Suddenly I heard someone approaching. I had been dreaming; there were butterflies come from the mist, and I was sleeping among the violets. The evening sparrows were singing. I went home, and there I had a visit from Sekka. He told me that he had recently painted one thousand butterflies. He asked me to write a preface, and so I wrote about my dream.

This is a beautiful reproduction of the original work. One curious feature of this facsimile is that instead of utilizing one long piece of paper, each individual page is glued at the edge with the preceding page, and as a result you cannot fully open the pages, which really hampers the unfolding of this accordion, and achieving the full effect of this wonderful format.

One-sided, individual pages 10"(h) x 7.25"(w), for a total of 58 pages and when fully opened 35ft 1/2".

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