Kobayashi Eitaku was a prolific and versatile artist who worked during the late Edo (1615-1868) and Meiji (1868-1912) periods of Japan. The Drawing Book of Designs for Everything, Vol. 1 likely functioned as a design reference book. The designs include various subjects that range from mythical creatures to forms found in nature. The detailed images are rendered in a woodblock print, enabling Eitaku to make multiple copies of this work. Eitaku was well versed in both the Ukiyo-e and Kano styles. He combined Ukiyo-e subject matter, such as scenes of kabuki actors and landscapes, with the Kano school’s zen-like simplicity. These particular prints were produced during the Meiji era, a time of rapid industrialization and globalization. The changes that took place during the Meiji era may have inspired Eitaku to preserve traditional Japanese designs. This book is representative of quintessential Ukiyo-e and Kano designs that span two major Japanese eras, which makes it an invaluable, comprehensive artistic resource.
Jocelyn Lo, Getty Collections/Conservation Summer Intern, 2015
Image on homepage: Kobayashi Eitaku, The Drawing Book of Designs for Everything, Vol. 1, 1880-1882, (1843 – 1890), Ink on paper, 9 1/8 x 5 7/8 in. (23.11 x 14.99 cm), Gift of the Eitaku family, Scripps College