Kakemono-e - 掛物絵 (genre )



"Woodblock prints served many purposes and were viewed in many different ways. Some prints were published as sets in albums, others were published separately and kept loose in boxes or mounted in albums by collectors. In Harunobu's time, and even more in the nineteenth century, prints were pasted on walls and standing screens as decoration. Other prints were used as fans and to decorate boxes, and others were meant to be mounted as scrolls and hung as paintings. The earliest of these large prints were called kakemono-e, or prints in the format of hanging scroll paintings. None, to my knowledge, has survived in its original mounting, but some show signs of mounting along the edges. The early kakemono-e were larger than the available paper, so large sheets were made by piecing. In 1718 or shortly thereafter, this format was discontinued, and print designers turned their attention to smaller, more brilliantly colored prints, printed on thicker more durable paper. In the late 1730s large sheets of this paper were used for the first large prints designed in western perspective, and shortly afterwards, hand-colored kakemono-e reappeared, narrower than the older prints, but carefully colored, and printed on one sheet of fine, thick paper. The most prolific and successful designers in this new format were Toyonobu and Masanobu, who may have introduced it."

Quoted from: Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Catalogue of the Mary A. Ainsworth Collection by Roger Keyes, 1984, p. 26.


"Early ukiyo-e printmakers made large vertical prints by cutting a sheet of paper in half and attaching the two pieces end to end. This format was known as kakemono-e because its proportions resembled those of hanging scrolls (kakemono), designed to fit within architectural alcoves (tokonoma). Since hanging scrolls were mounted with borders of sumptuous brocades, kakemono-e, too, were often embellished with decorative, but less expensive, paper mountings. In the late eighteenth century, Torii Kiyonaga was the first artist to join two pieces of ōban paper together to create a similarly attenuated format (roughly 78 x 26 cm.). Though far less popular than single-sheet ōban prints or horizontal diptychs and triptychs, kakemono-e remained a standard format for ukiyo-e production. "

Quoted from: Worldly Pleasures, Earthly Delights: Japanese Prints from the Minneapolis Institute of Art, text by Yōsuke Katō, p. 320.