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Among the woodblock prints created by the great shin hanga artist Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) the design "Zojo Temple, Shiba" (Zojo-ji, Shiba) is regarded as outstanding. And among collectors of Japanese prints of the shin hanga movement, it is one of the most expensive designs.
First Publication: July 2009
Latest Publication: April 2013
The design of Zojo Temple, Shiba is part of the series Twenty Views of Tokyo (Tokyo nijukei, Shiba Zojoji). It was first published in 1925. Publisher was Shozaburo Watanabe (1885-1962).
Zojo Temple, Shiba does not show the temple itself, but the impressive red main gate.
The subject of 'Zojo Temple' was depicted by Hasui Kawase in several different designs over the years. But none is as popular and as expensive among today's collectors of Japanese woodblock prints as Zojo Temple, Shiba. Designs of Zojo temple can also be found under the Japanese name Zojo-ji ('ji' standing for 'temple' in Japanese).
Narazaki Muneshige was the first person who still at lifetime of Hasui Kawase documented the work of the artist. He remarked about 'Zojo Temple, Shiba'.
"An additional 200 examples of this work were printed on March 22 1933, for a total run of 2,500 prints. This design continued in popularity and resulted in the printing of over 3,000 examples. Other publishers also copied it, but despite its success the somewhat eccentric Shozaburo Watanabe (1885-1962) decided to cease printing this image. Woodblocks of prints that were issued before the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923) were not consciously re-cut. But the printing of the Zojo temple snow scene was discontinued even though the original woodblock still existed and even though any number of copies could still be sold. The work illustrates the vermilion gate in a blizzard, the woman's umbrella partially shut against the storm. ... This is a masterpiece within Hasui's oeuvre, and no other by him received as much praise."
(from "Visions of Japan" - see literature source below.)
The origins of the Zojo temple go back to the 9th century. During the Edo period (1603-1868), it was the family temple of the ruling Tokugawa clan. Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate had moved the temple to the new capital Edo (now Toyko) in 1598. During world war II the temple complex was badly damaged but afterwards rebuilt.
The majestic red gate was built in 1622. It measures 21 meters in height, 28.7 meters in width and 17.6 meters in depth.
Zojo Temple and the Red Gate were badly damaged during the air bombardments of world war II. The Red Gate was rebuilt using concrete. See in this video what it looks today. the impression of a not very romantic place is underlined by the traffic noise in the background of this film. Anyway, thanks and credit to shijortatrip for sharing this with us.
927 sold object(s) by Hasui Kawase 1883-1957 in our Art Archive
1 signature(s) by Hasui Kawase in our Signature Database
Author: Dieter Wanczura
"Visions of Japan - Kawase Hasui's masterpieces", Hotei Publishing, Amsterdam, ISBN 90-74822-68-1.
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