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Tanigumi-san (Kegon-ji) from the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Tanigumi-san (Kegon-ji, temple 33)

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

by Nakazawa Hiromitsu, 1925 and 1946

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7

IHL Cat. #2413.41 (1925)
(from the complete 1925 album of prints IHL Cat. #2413)

IHL Cat. #2250 (1946)

About This Print

Nakazawa presents us with a view of a small building on the temple grounds of Tanigumi-san Kegon-ji, the thirty-third and last temple along the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, which displays a circular sign, blue with a yellow frame, proclaiming "votive offering" 奉納. Pilgrim's have attached prayer slips and prayer boards to its walls.

Perhaps this small building is related to the temple's Kannon, as described by Ian Reader:
Behind its main hall there is an enclosure housing a statue of the healing Buddha Yakushi. The statue is frequently swathed in clouds of incense lit by the many people who pray for his assistance in overcoming pains and sickness. To the side of the statue is a small kiosk where one can purchase strips of paper with Buddhist spells written on them: the purchaser then places the paper on Yakushi’s body and, while reciting a prayer, pours over it water from a ladle, thus symbolically washing the pain from the afflicted area.1 

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.

1 Religion in Contemporary Japan, Ian Reader, Macmillan, 1991, p.172-173. 

The Temple

Tanigumi-san Kegon-ji is situated in the mountains of Gifu prefecture and is the 33rd and final temple on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. Kegon-ji Temple was built in 798 and was given its official name, Tanigumi-san Kegon-ji, by Emperor Daigo years after its construction. The name was created by combining the names of Mt. Tanigumi and Kegon-ji Temple. It boasted the largest temple town (monmaemachi) of any temple on the Saigoku route and "in earlier times, when travelling was arduous, the inns there offered comfortable lodging where travelers could rest after rigors of a long and exhausting pilgrimage."1 

As evidence of its terminus status on the pilgrimage, today there is a small building adjacent to the Main Hall, the Oizuridō, "filled to overflowing with sedge hats, pilgrims' jackets, and staffs, offered by pilgrims in thanksgiving for [completing] a safe pilgrimage."2 

The main enshrined image (honzon) of the temple is the bodhisattva Kannon Jūichimen, kept hidden from the public and novice priests.

Senjafuda (votive offerings) at the temple

1 Japanese Buddhist Art in Context: The Saikoku Kannon Pilgrimage Route, Volume 1, a dissertation by Patricia Frame Rugola, The Ohio State University, 1986, p. 107.
2 Ibid.

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
 #2250 (1946 second edition) and #2413.41 (1925 first edition)
 Title or Description Tanigumi-san Kegon-ji (temple 33)
 谷汲山華厳寺 (三三)
 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)
IHL Cat. #2413.41 (1925 release): 中澤弘光 [Nakazawa Hiromitsu] printed in lower right margin as shown left

IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release): not signed
 Seal of the artist
弘 Hiro
left seal: IHL Cat. #2413.41 (1925 release)
right seal: IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release)
 Publication Date IHL Cat. #2413.41:  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.

IHL Cat. #2250: January 18, 1946 昭和二十一年一月十八日発行 [Individual prints in the 1946 release are not dated. This date taken from a 1946 album colophon.] 
 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

IHL Cat. #2413.41 (1925 release): 文淵堂版 [Bun'endō han] printed in lower right margin as shown left

IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release): no publisher seal
 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  IHL Cat. #2413.41 (1925 release): Nishimura Kumakichi 西村熊吉
Note: the colophon for the 1925 album (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. 

 IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release): Nishimura Kumakichi 西村熊吉 and
Takagi Seikō (Takagi Kiyomitsu?) 高木淸光
Note: the above information is taken from the colophon included in the 1946 release. I could find no information on the second printer listed for the 1946 release 高木淸光.

Note on Nishimura Kumakichi: listed as one of the printers for both the 1925 and 1946 release, there is some uncertainty about the date of his death, although a birth date, either 1861 or 1862 [Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints, Merritt, p. 223], is generally accepted. A death date of 1941 is sometimes given and 1955 has been suggested, but Merritt provides no date of death. If he truly did the printing for the 1946 release he would have been around 85 at that time. 
 Impression IHL Cat. #2413.41 (1925 release): excellent
 IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release): excellent
 Colors IHL Cat. #2413.41 (1925 release): excellent
 IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release): excellent
 Condition IHL Cat. #2413.41 (1925 release): good - light overall toning; thinning along lower left margin; minor handling folds upper left corner
 IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release):excellent - mounting residue three place along top verso
 Genre shin hanga; shasei kikō (sketch-tour)
temple/print number 33 appearing in the right margin of the 1925 release
 Format horizontal oban
 H x W Paper 
 IHL Cat. #2413.19 (1925 release): 10 1/16 x 15 3/16 in. (25.6 x 38.6 cm) 
 IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release): 9 5/8 x 13 7/8 in. (24.4 x 35.2 cm) 
 H x W Image
 IHL Cat. #2413.19 (1925 release): 8 1/2 x 11 9/16 (21.6 x 29.4 cm)
 IHL Cat. #2250 (1946 release):8 3/8 x 11 5/16 in. (21.3 x 28.7 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:
2/22/2020 created