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Idaten from the portfolio Woodblock Prints by Kihei Sasajima

The actors Bandō Hikosaburō V as Ukiyo Tohai, Ichimura Kakitsu IV as Nozarashi Gosuke and Ichikawa Danzō VI as Rokuji Namuemon

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Idaten 韋駄天

from the portfolio Woodblock Prints by Kihei Sasajima

by Sasajima Kihei, 1964 (originally 1963)

Sasajima Kihei (1906-1993)

IHL Cat. #1432

IHL Cat. #1432

IHL Cat. #1806
(another impression from the portfolio)

About This Print

One of five prints in this collection from the portfolio of prints titled "Woodblock Prints by Kihei Sasajima" issued in an edition of 300 copies by the Tokyo publisher Bijutsu Shuppan-sha in 1964.  

Picturing the Buddhist deity Idaten (the Indian deity Skanda) who is "faster than the wind."  
The printer, Yoneda Minoru, has colored this print from the back 刷版裏彩色, a technique used by Sasajima on many of his prints, making the print's verso as interesting as its front.

Source: Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System http://www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus/deta/i/idaten.htmJapanese Mythology A to Z, Jeremy Roberts, Infobase Pub.,2009, p. 56; Nihonschock website http://nihonshock.com/2010/05/%E9%9F%8B%E9%A7%84%E5%A4%A9%E8%B5%B0%E3%82%8A/
Idaten, who runs faster than any god, devil or human, has many legends associated with his great speed. In one, he runs at great speed from place to place preparing a feast for the Buddah, in another, he chases down a demon who stole Buddha's ashes and in still another he pursues a swift-footed demon, "bounding over mountains and across rivers," and retrieves Buddha's tooth stolen by the demon as Buddha lay in his coffin.  Idaten protects monks and can be called upon to protect their goodness.

The Japanese expression Ida-ten hashiri1 (to run like the wind) derives from these stories.

"Woodblock Prints by Kihei Sasajima" - A Portfolio of Twenty Reduced-Size Prints

A portfolio of twenty prints designed by Sasajima Kiehi and published by Bijutsu Shuppan-sha.  The prints in the portfolio are woodblock reproductions, almost all of them reproduced in a smaller size than the original prints created by the artist.  The woodblocks for the reduced-size prints (縮写復刻 shukusha fukkoku) were carved by Iokibe Kin’ichi (1913-1978)2 and printed by Yoneda Minoru3.  The table of contents for the series, shown below, provides the titles of the twenty prints, their original size and original date of publication.  Each print was tipped into a windowed mat which carried the number of the print as shown in the table of contents.  The portfolio included a commentary by Michiaki Kawakita, author and art historian.

  Portfolio's Colophon
click on image to enlarge
Portfolio's Table of Contents
click on image to enlarge

Comparison of Original Print with Portfolio Print
This print is the 10th print in the portfolio.

IHL Cat. #1806, portfolio print as issued tipped into windowed mat

As originally created by Sasajima its dimensions were approximately 11 3/4 x 9 in. (30 x 22.5 cm).  The portfolio reproduction measures approximately the same size as the original.

 1963 original print 1964 portfolio print

1 いだてんばしり
2 Iokibe Kin’ichi 五百旗頭欣一 (1913-1978) was a poet, artist and carver.
3 Yoneda Minoru (?-?) also carved the blocks for many of the re-prints of the work of Onchi Kōshirō (1891-1955).

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1432 and #1806
 Title Idaten 韋駄天 
 Portfolio Woodblock Prints by Kihei Sasajima
 笹島喜平版画作品集 Sasajima Kihei hanga sakushinshū
 Sasajima Kihei (1906-1993)
 not signed
 Seal of the Artist
笹 (artist's "sasa" seal)
 Publication Date
 October 1, 1964 (originally 1963)
 Bijutsu Shuppan-sha Corporation 株式会社美術出版社 (Ōshita Masao 大下正男)
 Carver Iokibe Kin’ichi 五百旗頭欣一
 Printer Yoneda Minoru 米田稔
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre sosaku hanga
 H x W Paper IHL Cat. #1432: 9 x 11 3/8 in. (23 x 29 cm)
 IHL Cat. #1806: 8 7/8 x 11 3/8 in. (22.5 x 29 cm)
 H x W Image IHL Cat. #1432 and #1806: 7 5/16 x 9 11/16 in. (18.6 x 24.6 cm)
 Collections This Print Carnegie Museum of Art 89.28.1194; National Diet Library JP番号64012710 and NDL Call Number 733-Sa735s

 Reference Literature