Torii Kiyomasu II

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Ichikawa Ebizo aitsutome moshi soro - Kiyomasu's print of the actor Ichikawa Ebizo on stage. Torii Kiyomasu II - Ichikawa Ebizo.jpg
Ichikawa Ebizō aitsutome moshi soro - Kiyomasu's print of the actor Ichikawa Ebizō on stage.

Torii Kiyomasu II(鳥居 清倍, c. 1720–1750) was a Japanese ukiyo-e painter and woodblock printmaker of the Torii school, a specialist, like the rest of the Torii artists, in billboards and other images for the promotion of the kabuki theatres. Scholars are unsure as to Kiyomasu II's relation to the original Kiyomasu who came a few decades earlier; they may have been close relations, or master and student, or they may have been the same man.

Ukiyo-e A genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries

Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries. Its artists produced woodblock prints and paintings of such subjects as female beauties; kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers; scenes from history and folk tales; travel scenes and landscapes; flora and fauna; and erotica. The term ukiyo-e translates as "picture[s] of the floating world".

Woodblock printing in Japan

Woodblock printing in Japan is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1868). Although similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the mokuhanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.

The Torii school was a school of ukiyo-e painting and printing founded in Edo. The primary producers of kabuki theater signboards and other promotional materials, the Torii were among those whose work led to the development of ukiyo-e. Their style was one of the primary influences in the ukiyo-e depiction of actors and kabuki scenes for much of the 18th century. Still today, kabuki signboards are sometimes painted by members of the Torii family.

His prints, like many at the time, were made largely using the urushi-e (lacquer print) and benizuri-e (rose print) methods; the lines or outlines of the prints themselves would often be in monochrome or a limited number of colors and the rest would be done by hand.

<i>Urushi-e</i> two types of Japanese artworks

Urushi-e refers to three different types of Japanese artworks:

Benizuri-e are a type of "primitive" ukiyo-e style Japanese woodblock prints. They were usually printed in pink (beni) and green, occasionally with the addition of another color, either printed or added by hand. The production of benizuri-e reached its peak in the early 1740s. Torii Kiyohiro, Torii Kiyomitsu I, Torii Kiyonobu I, Okumura Masanobu, Nishimura Shigenaga, and Ishikawa Toyonobu are the artists most closely associated with benizuri-e.

Richard Lane writes that the majority of Kiyomasu's work is "quite stereotyped, lacking in vitality or fertility of invention." [1] He writes the same of the works of Torii Kiyonobu II, but says of both artists that "in perhaps a quarter of their prints they manage to rise above the confines of their own limited talents and produce work of rare grace and charm." [1]

Richard Lane (1926–2002) was an American scholar, author, collector, and dealer of Japanese art. He lived in Japan for much of his life, and had a long association with the Honolulu Museum of Art in Hawaii, which now holds his vast art collection.

Torii Kiyonobu II Japanese artist

Torii Kiyonobu II was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist. He headed the Torii artistic school from possibly as early as 1725, when its founder Torii Kiyonobu I retired. Kiyonobu II was a prolific designer of actor prints, principally in the narrow hosoban format, of which he produced at least 300 examples for about 20 different publishers. He and Torii Kiyomasu II were the main Torii artists of their time and have been rumoured to be the same person. Kiyonobu II's last known work is an actor print dated to 1760.


  1. 1 2 Lane, Richard (1978). "Images of the Floating World." Old Saybrook, CT: Konecky & Konecky. p74.

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International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

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