This woodblock print was created by Sadao Watanabe, a famous Japanese printmaker of the twentieth century. Watanabe is best known for his biblical productions made in the traditional Japanese style. The scene depicted here is of a nativity, with three men praying over a child being held by its mother. The print is primarily monochrome, but blue, red, and yellow have been added to accentuate certain details. The process of woodcut printing involves using separate matricies for each color, and getting all the blocks to line up takes a skillful touch. In making this print, Watanabe would have had to draw the design on the woodblock before carving it out and adding ink. The areas that he carved out appear on the page as the color of the paper. Watanabe is an artist associated with the Mingei movement, which centered on Japanese folk art and flourished in the early 1900s. The piece has been in the collection, with other Watanabe prints, since the 1980s.
-Charla Hamilton, Class of 2015