"Pillar prints", such as Yoshimoto Gesso's Dragon featured here, are a great example of the unusual and affordable Japanese art we have in our collection. Designed to harmonise with traditional Japanese architecture, the long, narrow form provides a refresing break from the more traditional oblong.
Yoshimoto Gesso (1881 - 1936)
Woodblock print (nishiki-e)
Tanzaku [3 x 13.75 inches]
Vertical, narrow prints are a by-product of traditional Japanese architecture, which offered very few solid wall surfaces. Many times, the only solid surface available for the hanging of pictures, were the structural posts which held up the roof. ""Pillar prints"" became a genre unto themselves and were referred to in Japanese as hashira-e or tanzaku.
The design of pleasing compositions within such a constrained format is a serious challenge for the artist. Yoshimoto Gesso and Shoda Koho, the artists who designed the prints in this series, have certainly risen to this challenge and produced a wide variety of wonderful designs.
This series was listed simply as 1 line item in the Hasegawa / Nishinomiya catalogue. The implication is that there were 96 separate images available. They were sold as sets of 12 prints.