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Fujii-dera from the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Fujii-dera (temple 5)

from the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

by Nakazawa Hiromitsu, 1925

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7

IHL Cat. #2413.13
(from the complete 1925 album of prints IHL Cat. #2413)

About This Print

Nakazawa shows us the shiunseki toro, a tall stone lantern originally made in the Kamakura period (about 800 years ago) located between Fujii-dera's main hall and gate.  In Nakazawa's rendering the gate is the backdrop for the lantern rather than the more typical view of the lantern with the main hall in the background, as in the below photo.  The current lantern between the gate and the main hall is a replica made in Meiji period and the original  lantern, a Tangible Cultural Property of Osaka prefecture, is carefully preserved in the temple’s backyard. Fujii-dera, located in Fujiidera, Osaka, is the fifth temple along the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.

Along with his two traveling companions, the poet Ishikura Suiyō and the artist Akatsuka Chūichi, Nakazawa undertook this 600 mile pilgrimage in December 1923, only three months after the Great Kantō Earthquake devastated the Tokyo area. 

The Temple

"Built 725 on the orders of Emperor Shōmu, Fujii-dera’s primary function was to offer prayers for the protection and well-being of the nation and the imperial family. Originally, Fujii-dera was a massive temple with two main halls and two three-story pagodas. In 1096 a number of the temple’s building were worn down an in need of repairs. At this time, the nobleman Fujii Yasumoto donated substantial funds to the temple, allowing the necessary repairs to be made. In a display of gratitude for these repairs, the temple renamed itself 'Fujii-dera'."

The temple is associated with Shingon Buddhism and has as its main image an 8th-century sculpture of the Thousand-armed Kannon, a National Treasure.

Seated Thousand-armed Kannon 131.3 cm (51.7 in) Hon-dō, Fujii-dera, Fujiidera, Osaka. The statue has a total of 1041 arms: 2 main arms with the hand palms facing each other in front of the statue, 38 large and 1001 small arms extending from behind the body. Nara period, middle of 8th century dry lacquer. Gold leaf over lacquer.
[Description taken from Wikipedia commons

The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage (Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei) 

Japan's most famous pilgrimage, originating in the 11th century, encompasses 33 Buddhist temples in Western Japan (Kansai region) dedicated to Kannon (bodhisattva Avalokitasvara), the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who hears the cries of the world and assists anyone in distress.

The 33 temples on the approximately 1,000 kilometer pilgrimage route correspond to Kannon's ability to take on 33 different forms. One hundred thousand pilgrims navigate the route in its entirety or part each year.

Note: For a listing of all 33 temples go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saigoku_Kannon_Pilgrimage. To access an interactive map of the route and its temples go to https://www.thetempleguy.org/p/saigoku-33-kannon-route.html and scroll down towards the bottom of the page.

About the "Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces" 

First issued in 1925 and reprinted in 1946, the 1925 album contains 58 prints and the 1946 album 59 prints. For detailed discussion of the two editions and additional information on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage see this site's article Nakazawa Hiromitsu - Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Fujii-dera (temple 5) 
 葛井寺 (
 Series Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces
 西国三十三所巡礼画巻 Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei gakan
 Artist Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)
中澤弘光 [Nakazawa Hiromitsu] printed in lower right margin as shown left
 Seal of the artist
弘 Hiro
 Publication Date Published September 28, 1925 大正十四年九月十八日発行 as printed in the 1925 album's colophon (see Album Box with Print of Kannon IHL Cat. #2413).
Note: an earlier date of June 15, 1925 大正十四年六月十五日 appears in the right margin of the print titled Matsunoo-dera [IHL Cat. #2245], the only print in the 1925 album which carries a date. This earlier date, however, is the date that the censor's approval was obtained, as further explained on this site's web page for Matsunoo-dera, rather than the publishing date.
文淵堂版 [Bun'endō han] printed in lower right margin as shown left

 發行者 金尾種次郎 publisher Kanao Tanejirō
 發兌元 金尾文淵堂 publishing house Kanao Bun'endō
 Carver Okada Seijirō 岡田清次郎
Note: the album's colophon (see Album Box with Print of Kannon IHL Cat. 2413) lists two carvers, the above well-known Okada Seijirō and 大倉藤太郎, possibly read Okura Tōtarō, who I can find no information on. 
 Printer Nishimura Kumakichi 西村熊吉
Note: the album's colophon (see Album Box with Print of Kannon IHL Cat. 2413) lists three printers, the above well-known Nishmura Kumakichi; 山県秀助, possibly read Yamagata Hidesuki, who I can find no information on, and 松本兄弟堂, a company founded in Osaka by Matsumoto Kisaburō 松本喜三郎 in 1923, which I believe did the letterpress printing. 
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - minor marks and soiling
 Genre shin hanga; shasei kikō (sketch-tour)
temple/print number 5 appearing in the right margin of the 1925 release
 Format horizontal oban
 H x W Paper 
 10 1/8 x 15 1/4 in. (25.7 x 38.7 cm)  
 H x W Image
 8 1/2 x 11 9/16 in. (21.6 x 29.4 cm)
 Literature  Nakazawa Hiromitsu kenkyū: Hon karano kenshō, Hiromitsu Nakazawa, Mitsunobu Satō, et. al., Mitsui Kōkei, Tokyo, 2006, p. 46-48.
 Collections This Print
 National Diet Library Call Number 寄別7-8-2-5 (1925 album, no images displayed); National Library Board, Singapore BRN:9854371 (entire 1946 album, no images shown); British Library System number: 017018582 (entire 1946 album, no images shown)Harvard Yenching Library HOLLIS number 990082993710203941 (1925 album, no images displayed)

last revision:
1/16/2021 created