Bertha Lum (1879-1954), “Lung Fu Sou”

1924. Color woodcut 9-1/2″ x 10-1/2″. In a 3/4″ wide No. 1 flat frame with reverse splines and corners rounded inside and out, in walnut (Black wash), with 1/8″ painted slip.

American artist Bertha Lum based this print on a photograph she took of a market she encountered on her travels in China. We set the print in a 2-1/2″ wide plain 4-ply solid core cotton rag mat. The walnut frame is finished with black linseed oil wax. I find that wood and finish frequently harmonize perfectly with Japanese (and Japanese-inspired) woodblocks. The 1/8″ filet or slip is painted with linseed oil paint in the blue that’s in the print.

I wanted rounded corners to suit the rounded forms in the picture—most notably the great arch in the background. (Architecture in a picture is always a primary clue for the architecture of a suitable frame.) This presented the opportunity to play with a type of joinery I call reverse splines.

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