Ogata Gekko gekko portrait Tanzaku

One of the delights of Gekko's work is the wide range of formats he used, and he was a master of that most Japanese format, the tanzaku or poem card. He created them over a considerable period of his career, the earliest dated example here is from 1906, the latest is dated 1919. He produced some superb images for this difficult format. Most appear to be woodblock prints but it can be very difficult to differentiate the prints from hand painted examples as the prints were often done on paper with a texture imitating silk. The first 4 illustrations are of a boxed set of 12 tanzaku and include a version of one of his best known themes a Dragon Ascending Fuji

set of 12 a

set of 12 b

set of 12 c

set of 12 d

Next are 3 compilation images which include prints which can be dated by the calligraphy on them, one showing horse gear from 1906, one showing a paintbrush for the year of the goat 1919 and one showing another goat with an orange background from 1907. There is also a goat or sheep shown below an orange sun, this appears to be a hand painted tanzaku rather than a woodblock.

new years




Below is an original presentation packet, dated Taisho 7 (1918) and the two tanzaku contained therein

tanzaku packet




Finally here are some more lovely images including an unsual tanzaku of Gekko seals and two wonderful hand painted items, a tiger and some cranes, (the images for these last 2 being from the artelino site).


kettle man with basketsea dragon


sansuiboar seals


cranes tiger