Tenmaya Kihei (天満屋喜兵衛) (publisher 1816 – 1860)

Kinkadō (firm name - 金華堂)
Tenki (seal name - 天喜)


Prints of Japan


Osaka print publisher. Kunihiro was one of several Osaka artist who could be classified as amateurs because they made their living by other means. According to Roger Keyes "...there is virtually certain evidence that Kunihiro was the artist-proprietor of Tenki for nearly twenty years." Edo had not seen an owner/artist since the death of Okamura Masanobu in 1764. However, "A tradition of artist-proprietorship for at least one of the three major Osaka publishers would help explain the high standards of Osaka printmaking, and deserves further study."

from Jerry Vegder at Prints of Japan

Artists published by this house (Marks 536) include Ashiyuki, Hironobu, Hirosada, Hokucho, Hokuei, Hokusetsu, Hokushū, Kiyokuni, Kunhiro, Nobuharu, Nobuhiro, Nobukatsu, Nobumasa, Sadahiro, Sadamasu, Sadanobu, Sadayoshi, Shibakuni, Shigeharu, Shigenao, Toshikuni, Toyohide, Umekuni and Yoshikuni.

[The names of artists in the Lyon Collection published by this house are highlighted in bold type.]


"The pattern of the publishing business in Ōsaka seems to have been quite different from that in Edo, where publishers proliferated quite freely. Though the technique of the multicolored woodblock had become public property by the 1770s, it appears that the number of publishers always remained somewhat limited in Ōsaka, with a tendency towards domination by one or a handful of houses. The very first Edo-style ōban prints, produced between 1812 and 1815, appear to have been the virtual monopoly: Tenki (Tenmaya Kihei), Wataki (Wataya Kihei), Honsei (Honya Seibei), and Toshin (Tokuraya Shinbei). They in turn, either by governmental restriction on licenses or through collusion, managed to keep out further competition until the late 1830s..."

Quoted from: Osaka Prints by Dean J. Schwaab, p. 11.