The "White-line" Print Series by Yoshida Tōshi (1911-95)
January 23, 2013 – July 2013
Above: Yoshida Tōshi (Japanese, 1911–95), Ginkaku-ji Garden, 1963, woodblock print, ink and color on paper; gift from the Judith and Paul A. Falcigno Collection, 2010.94
Yoshida Tōshi survived polio and years of demanding training to become the innovative head of the famous Yoshida Family Studio after his father, the artist and woodblock print maker Yoshida Hiroshi (1876-1950), died in 1950. Loyal to the family tradition, Tōshi continued to produce landscape prints of scenic places in Japan as well as in other Asian and Western countries (including the U.S.), but he also designed abstract works as well as scenes of African wildlife.
In 1963-64 Tōshi composed and carved the blocks for a special series of seven views, mostly depicting Zen-temple gardens. Instead of using traditional black outlines, Tōshi relied on white lines (some embossed using un-inked keyblocks), as well as sensitively balanced and textured colors to enhance the impression of pristine serenity. These intimate scenes reflect the Yoshida family’s deep love of nature and their love of bonsai and bonseki, miniature landscapes on trays. This print shows the kare-sansui (lit. “dry mountain and water”) garden of Ginkaku-ji (“Temple of the Silver Pavilion”) in Kyoto. Its white gravel is raked in patterns of waves (ginshanada; lit. “silver sand and open sea”) and shaped into a replica of Mount Fuji, a feature called kōgetsudai (“platform facing the moon”).