Woodcut on Japanese paper. This piece depicting “Goddesses” encapsulates the vitality and raw energy often seen in Munakata’s unique style of print-making. For Munakata, the art of creation did not come from within but emerged out of the wood to reveal nature’s intrinsic force and beauty. His influences derive from both east and west and include Vincent van Gough, Buddhist religious imagery, Heian period poetry, and Japanese folk art to name a few. As seen in this print, Munakata often incorporated poetry and calligraphy into his works.
Signed in pencilled kanji, Shikō, and penciled English, Munakata, with artist’s pine needle symbol and red seal Muna with faint mat staining around the far edges. The pine needle symbol that Munakata frequently adds to his signature was the same mark his grandfather, a blacksmith, placed on his swords; and, that his father placed on cutting tools during the Meiji period when samurai were forbidden to carry swords.