Gusu Beauties Print 9

A woman is seated on a chair, hugging its back and holding a large round transparent fan with a handle of spotted bamboo. The chair has visible wood grains and an insert of spotted bamboo in the back. In front of her a boy is flying a dragonfly on a piece of string attached to a stick. The representation of the fan and its thin gauze is ingeniously done by grading the area behind the fan a few tones darker than the surroundings, giving the gauze an opaque transparency. Brilliant workmanship!

Her dress has significant chiaroscuro, as has the lady’s dress in Print 5. Another rare feature in this print is the visible shoe, a feature absent in all other prints.

Through a large moon door can be seen a zig-zagging balustrade, a pond, and an open rectangular pavilion.

This print, as well as Print 5, both acquired in 2010, is mounted on a coarse woven linen canvas, with traces of some kind of gesso, and has many cracks and repairs. Both are framed behind glass in what looks like old frames but the prints themselves are dirty, indicating a previous existence somewhere else before being framed. They could possibly have been mounted on a wall considering the canvas.

The total size of the framed part is 107 x 57 cm, but only 104,5 x 54,5 cm is visible due to a piece of wood covering the image.

I do not know of any other examples of this print. Actually, I believe this print is not part of the series Prints 1-8. There are stylistic differences – rounder face, chubbier boy, the figures are nearer the viewer, flatter perspective, etc. Also the cutting of the block is different, with simpler cuts, larger space between the lines and not much criss-cross lines. Perhaps this print is from another studio, and/or belongs to another series, but very much in the spirit of Prints 1-8?

About chiwoopri

Collector and researcher of old Chinese woodblock prints
This entry was posted in chinese prints, prints, Suzhou prints, woodblock. Bookmark the permalink.

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