Surimono & egoyomi
Surimono are some of the most challenging Japanese woodblock prints to collect due to the limited size of their production runs and in part to the large influx of high-quality reproductions made for westerners scrambling to buy high-quality surimono. Made exclusively as private productions made as gifts for favored patrons, the deluxe paper, inks & masterful printing techniques culminate into what many consider the "apex" of ukiyo-e. Produced from around 1800 until 1840, during the Edo period, surimono (“printed things” in Japanese) combine intricate artwork and playful poetry. Their small print runs and exclusive audiences allowed for luxurious yet subtle surface treatments, such as embossing and gilding. Enjoyed for their learned allusions to literature and contemporary culture, surimono continues to delight and perplex scholars with their visual puns and wordplay. Imagery ranges from delicate, domestic still lifes to spirited vignettes of the natural world, while the poems are often lighthearted takes on the classical Japanese waka form.