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Shosha-zan (Engyō-ji) from the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Shosha-zan (Engyō-ji, temple 27)

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. #2316

IHL Cat. #2413.35
(from the complete 1925 album of prints IHL Cat. #2413)

About This Print

Sources: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engy%C5%8D-ji and the website of Shoshazan Engyoju http://www.shosha.or.jp/_en/

Nakazawa does not show the temple grounds, only two pilgrims working their way up the steep trail to the top of 1200 foot high Mount Shosha and its beautiful backdrop of the Yumesaki River flowing into the Inland Sea. In 1925, the city of Himeji (see below photo) had a population of over 85,000 yet Nakazawa ignores any sign of the city to intensify this scene's serenity. 

On December 1923, only a few months after the Great Kantō Earthquake devastated the Tokyo area, Nakazawa along with his two friends, the poet Ishikura Suiyō and the artist Akatsuka Chūichi, began their pilgrimage to the thirty-three temples comprising the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, taking seventy-eight days to complete the route.

View today looking over Himeji and the Inland Sea,
with the Mount Shosha Ropeway making its way up the mountain.

The Temple

Source: https://jref.com/articles/engyo-ji-temple.289/

Founded in 966 by the Buddhist priest Tokudo-shonin (656-735), Shoshazan Engyō-ji is located on the top of Mount Shosha in Himeji, Hyōgo Prefecture and is the twenty-seventh temple on the Saigoku Pilgrimage route. The summit is reached either by hiking trail or aerial tram (Mount Shosha Ropeway).

Within the temple's mountaintop precincts are eight buildings and seven Buddhist statues appointed as “Important Cultural Properties” and the location is featured in the movie “The Last Samurai”.

The main enshrined image (honzon) of the temple is the bodhisattva Kannon Nyoirin.

The go-eika, or temple song/prayer, of Shoshazan Engyō-ji is:

Harubaru-to nobore-ba shosha-no Yamaoroshi, matsu-no hibiki-mo minori-naruran
(We climbed to the summit of Mt. Shosha as a strong wind blew down from the peak. The pines whispered as they swayed in the breeze. For us even this sound is a teaching from the Buddha.)

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.

Nakazawa Hiromitsu - Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces
click on the image to go to the article

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #2316 and #2413.35 
 Title or Description Shosha-zan (Engyō-ji, temple 27)
 書写山 (円教寺、二十七)
 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.
 Publisher 發行者 金尾種次郎 publisher Kanao Tanejirō
 發兌元 金尾文淵堂 publishing house Kanao Bun'endō

文淵堂版 [Bun'endō han] printed in lower right margin as shown left

 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 IHL Cat. #2316 and #2413.35:  excellent
 Colors IHL Cat. #2316 and #2413.35:  excellent
 Condition IHL Cat. #2316: good - 3" vertical paper fold right center of print, likely caused in printing process
 IHL Cat. #2413.35: good - minor soiling, pinhole lower left margin
 Genre shin hanga; shasei kikō (sketch-tour)
temple/print number 27 appearing in the right margin of the 1925 release
 Format horizontal oban
 H x W Paper 
 IHL Cat. #2316 and #2413.35: 10 1/8 x 15 5/16 in. (25.7 x 38.9 cm)  
 H x W Image
 IHL Cat. #2316 and #2413.35: 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:
7/3/2020 created