This monumental print completely redefines woodblock printmaking. It is composed of six plates and fifteen colors, in a total of fifteen runs. As the original mixed media painting was composed of different techniques between the top and bottom, in creating the print, the plates were also divided into top and bottom portions, with two plates for the top and four for the bottom.
Starting from the bottom, the first plate sets a deep blue background, printing different shades of blue and grey onto dampened rice paper. In following second and third plates, while preserving the paper’s dampness, more mixtures of blue and grey are blended on to create the painterly details that bridge the background with the frontal brushstrokes. After allowing the colors to dry and stabilize, the fourth plate is printed. As the main compositional plate, the fourth plate relies on the heavy use of black and blue ink, to create the strong brushstrokes that stand clearly from the background.
The top portion is composed of two plates; the first blends a mixture of different red and yellow pigments to portray the stark red background, which also outlines the contours of the sun and crescent moons. The second and final plate adds the orange halo around the sun, as finishing touches.
This print not only challenges the limits of woodblock printmaking in terms of sheer size, but also the difficulties of printing multiple plates and colors, especially how the colors on each plate are blended or layered. In the end, the sharp contours of the calligraphic brushstrokes, the natural rendering of the background, as well as the overall atmosphere, all testify the degree of ingenuity and craftsmanship of this epic print.