An 1835 Book of Woodblock Prints Showing Decorative Horse Reins: Abstraction

$695.00 USD

dated 1835
each of seven images: 10" x 13 3/4" or 25.5 cm x 35 cm

This is a book of woodblock prints, seven different ones in all, that illustrate a variety of decorative horse reins. This book is being offered today in conjunction with a horse textile, a boro horse trapping that can be seen here.

Horse reins of the type illustrated here would have been hand dyed onto one length of cloth--hemp or cotton--which was 13" or 33 cm wide. This long cloth would have then been folded lengthwise twice in order to make a fairly narrow lead to use for horses.

As can be seen here there is a beautiful variety of designs and colors: the way the horse reins are designed and arranged on the page is a beautiful presentation which calls to mind Minimal art from the 1970s. 

The variety is rich.

More than that this is a wonderful study object that speaks about the culture of horse festivals and of the mind of the traditional Japanese textile designer and dyer.

As this book was printed before the introduction of synthetic dyes from Europe we can imagine that the purple color represented gromwell root dyeing, the orange represented safflower dyeing, the blue represented indigo dyeing and so on.

The folio that encloses the book was no doubt made after the book and was fabricated to keep it safe. The oversized horse illustration that lines the folio is a wonderful graphic that adds flavor to the overall package. Included as well is a sheet of hand painted horse rein designs.

A rare document in very good condition.

This is very recommended.