Kōto

In the old “Dubious prints” section, I had already presented three prints referable to an elusive “Kosei”.

The name Kosei is referring to a print  presented at the exhibition “Impressions of the Natural World: Japanese Prints from the Special Collections Division”, Newark Public Library (Newark, NJ, USA) from April 18 to August 30, 2016,  with the following caption: ” Kosei. (Japanese, active 20th century). Peacock, no date. Woodblock print “ (here as Kōto-01).

However, recently I have identified in the very rich collection of Japanese woodblock prints of Honolulu Museum of Arts (HOMA) the other print, my case 2 in the old “dubious print” section (here as Kōto-02), attributed to “Kosho”.

I thank Stephen Salel, curator of Japanese Art at HOMA, for studying the seal of this print and the signature on “Peacock”. Although cursive characters in kanji are often difficult to identify, it is his opinion that the signature and seal should read as Kōto (鴻 都).

Over the years I have discovered two other prints with the same seal for a total of 5 and 3 Watanabe numbers on the back.

I can also state that the Peacock (Kōto -01) is not a Sōzan knock-off as it predates WT-13.

The fact that Kōto-01 may be a pre-earthquake version of Sōzan’s WT-13 and the style, identical to that of Sozan, makes me think that Kōto is one of the many house names imposed by Watanabe on his artists and therefore Kōto is ultimately Ito Sozan.

However, having no other information on the matter, I prefer to leave Kōto separated from Sozan for the moment.

Kōto prints

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