|KEY WORD : art history / paintings|
|Lit. brocade pictures. A picture that resembles a colorful embroidered silk brocade, nishikinui 錦繍. A commercial woodblock print in the *ukiyo-e 浮世絵 style with a full-range of printed colors produced by taking impressions off a set of woodblocks. The earliest nishiki-e are thought to be several compositions based on picture calendar, e-goyomi 絵暦 designs by the ukiyo-e artist Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信 (1725-70) in 1765. Earlier prints and printed book illustrations often had colors painted within the black printed outlines. In the 1740's-50's commercial ukiyo-e woodblock prints were produced with a limited range of printed colors, usually rose-red and green sometimes with an additional color, and were called *benizuri-e 紅摺絵. Full-color printed compositions from before the 1765 commercial edition do exist, but they were privately commissioned and distributed as part of poetry anthologies among amateur poetry afficiandos (see *surimono 摺物), and are not considered nishiki-e. Full-color or multi-block printing became possible through the adoption of consistent registration guide marks *kentou 見当 that were carved in all the blocks (typically around ten). The earliest record of the term nishiki-e occurs almost simultaneously with the appearance of commercial full-color prints. The term *azuma nishiki-e 東錦絵 appears on the jacket, fukuro 袋 of a series of e-goyomi designs by Harunobu, re-published in a commercial edition put on sale ca. 1766, entitled *Zashiki Hakkei 座敷八景. Azuma 東 (also written 吾妻) means the "Eastern Capital of Edo". Although the term was soon shortened to nishiki-e, "azuma" continued to be linked with the term nishiki-e well into the 19c, especially to distinguish single-sheet prints *ichimai-e 一枚絵 made in Edo with those published in the modern Osaka-Kyoto area called *kamigata-e 上方絵.|
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