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Kintai Bridge from the series Miyata Saburō Collection of Woodblock Prints Scenery of Japan

Tropical Fish

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kintai Bridge

from the series Miyata Saburō Collection of

Woodblock Prints Scenery of Japan

by Miyata Saburō, 1971-1984

Germination (2)

IHL Cat. #2265

About This Print

Miyata depicts, using black ink only, 500 year old Kintai-bashi, a wooden arch bridge, below Iwakuni Castle in Yamaguchi Prefecture. This print is from an unknown volume from the artist's 240 print, 12 volume compendium Miyata Saburō Collection of Woodblock Prints Scenery of Japan.

Kintai-bashi (Kintai Bridge)
Source: website of oldtokyo.com http://www.oldtokyo.com/kintaibashi-iwakuni-c-1910/
“Kintaibashi is located [in Yamaguchi Prefecture] on the foot of Mt.Yokoyama, at the top of which lies Iwakuni Castle. After Iwakuni Castle was completed in 1608 by Kikkawa Hiroie, the first lord of Iwakuni Domain, a series of wooden bridges were built. However, most of them were destroyed by floods several times before the construction of the iconic Kintaibashi in 1673. New stone piers replaced the old wooden ones.

Though thought to be flood-proof; the bridge was destroyed by a flood the next year. As a result, the stone piers were redesigned for greater strength, and a special tax was created to maintain the bridge. This maintenance involved periodic rebuilding of the bridge: every 20 years for 3 spans in the middle, every 40 years for 2 spans connecting to the riverside.

Consequently, the bridge remained undestroyed for 276 years, until washed away again by flooding from typhoon ‘Kijia’ in 1950. It had been in a weakened state at the time, due to the fact that the Japanese had stopped maintaining the bridge during World War II, and that the year before the typhoon, a large amount of gravel was taken by the US military forces from the river around the bridge to expand the US Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, strengthening the flow of the river. 

In 1953, the bridge was reconstructed similarly to the original, using metal nails made from the same tatara iron as the Katana to increase its durability. Between 2001 and 2004, all five bridge girders were restored for the first time in 50 years.

About the Series "Miyata Saburō Collection of Woodblock Prints - Scenery of Japan"

Consisting of twelve volumes, each containing twenty woodblock prints depicting scenic locations around Japan, Miyata spent fourteen years from 1970 to 1984 producing the series, which he carved and printed himself in a limited edition of 100 prints each.  Most, if not all, the places depicted were actually visited by the artist.  Miyata followed this massive series of 240 prints with a printed compendium of the prints titled Miyata Saburō mokuhanga zenshū 宮田三郎木版画全集 (The Complete Woodblock Prints of Miyata Saburō), release in limited edition in five volumes in 1983-1984.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #2265
錦帯橋 Kintai bashi
Kintai bridge
 Series Miyata Saburō Collection of Woodblock Prints Scenery of Japan
 Miyata Saburō Mokuhanga shū Nihon no fūkei
 Miyata Saburō (1924-2013)
ミヤタ サブロウ Miyata Saburō in kana with unread black superimposed character (possibly  or "sa")
 Publication Date 1971-1984
百冊限定版の内 (limited edition of 100), as stamped on the left side of the bottom margin
 Publisher the artist in conjunction with the Tokyo Print Research Institute
 Tokyo Hanga Kenkyūsho 東京版画研究所
 Printer self-printed
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - minor paper handling creases
 Genre sosaku-hanga (creative print)
 Format dai-ōban
 H x W Paper 15 3/8 x 20 1/8 in. (38.7 x 51.1 cm)
 H x W Image 11 5/8 x 16 in. (31.1 x 40.6 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Reference Literature 
last revision:
6/24/2021 created