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(Japan 1903 – 1975)

Shell kind
Alternative title:
Shôkeishô: kaizoku no saku
Place of origin
Shôwa period 1926 - 1988 → Japan
Media category
Materials used
hand coloured woodcut

49.2 x 37.6 cm image; 55.3 x 43.0 cm sheet

Signature & date
Signed l.r., pencil "Shikô [in Japanese] Munakata [in English]" [and artist's seal]. Dated l.r., pencil "1962.12.31" [and artist's mark].
Purchased 1963
Accession number
Further information

Munakata is one of the outstanding figures in twentieth-century graphic arts. He carved his own woodblocks, fervently advocating his own belief in "block-centredness": that by concentrating on the carving of the block all sense of self and self-consciousness would be lost and the image would emerge. Munakata's powerful, expressive images have a compelling immediacy and spirituality that burst beyond the borders of their sheet and reflect his admiration for Zen Buddhism and folk art. This print is from the 24-print series 'A Homage to Shôkei', his first major series after World War II. It is a tribute to the potter Kawai Kanjirô, a leading exponent of the folk art ('mingei') movement, and his kiln in Kyoto called Shôkei. Munakata was a prominent member of the influential folk art movement and Kawai's friend. The image was hand-coloured by Munakata and signed and dated in December 1962 when the Gallery's director Hal Missingham, acquired it in Tokyo. (Although the print was created in 1945, Munakata only signed and dated a print when it was sold.)

'Asian Art', AGNSW Collections, 1994, pg. 227.

Bibliography (4)

AJIOKA, Hanga: Japanese creative prints, '1930s-1950s: Consolidation of Hanga and the individualists', pg. 70-98, Sydney, 2000, 83 (colour illus.), 102, 109. 4.8

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Individuality in early 20th century works on paper', Sydney, 2003, 283 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 227 (colour illus.).

Amy Reigle Newland and Chris UHLENBECK (Editors), Ukiyo-e to Shin hanga: The Art of Japanese Woodblock Prints, England, 1990, 207 [colour illus.].

Exhibition history (1)

Hanga: Japanese creative prints, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Oct 2000–07 Jan 2001

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