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Daikokuya Heikichi

大黒屋平吉 (Daikokuya Heikichi)

Daikokuya Heikichi (大黒屋平吉; 1764-1931)is a publishing firm that dates back to 1775. In the early 1820s, Daikokuya published prints and illustrated books. The many books that he issued until the late 1840s were mostly illustrated by Kuniyasu and Kuniyoshi. Prints from the early period are scarce and mainly show actors or sumo wrestlers. From 1840s, Daikokuya started producing prints on a larger scale and engaged well-known artists like Kunisada but also lesser known ones like Utagawa Kuniaki II (1835-1888), who designed a tripych of beautiful women. Abiding the new rules, prints since 1876 are sealed with the family name Matsuki Heikichi. During the 1850s and 1860s, Daikokuya regularly produced a high number of different designs in all possible fields and by a wide range of artists. Especially during the 1880s and 1890s, he was known for high quality prints. In the 1890s, Daikokuya also produced reproduction of old prints. Daikokuya published many unserialized tripychs during the Sino-Japanese War fro 1894-1895, depicting battles and the Japanese army. The Russo-Japanese Ware of 1904-1905 gave Daikokuya the possibility to again increase the production and focus on this new topic. Daikokuya continued to be active in the printing business until Heikichi V's death in 1931. See Andreas Marks. "Japanese Woodblock Prints, Artists, Publishers and Masterworks 1680-1900". Tuttle Publishing, Tokyo (2010). pp 272-275.

Framed Ukiyoe Sumo Wrestler Woodblock Print by Utagawa Kuniteru II (c. 1867)

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