Hawk Woman, 1958
woodcut, hand-touched with black ink
Gift of Charles Pendexter
Takagari is the sport of falconry, long associated with Japanese nobility. This print depicts a female falconer who meets the gaze of the hawk resting on her right hand. Munakata consistently adhered to Buddhist and Shinto subjects, often depicting female kami (Shinto deities). Believing that the work’s origin emerged from spirit of the board, Munakata worked at a swift pace, often revising the image in the midst of the carving process. Nearsighted, he often worked with his face inches away from his sharp tools. Munakata’s unorthodox process and intense, vigorous engagement with the surface lent his public demonstrations of woodblock carving the aura of a performance. Carved with a triangular chisel, the jagged, forceful lines that compose the scene generate an active, expressionistic energy.