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Rainy Night at Shinobazu Pond


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Rainy Night at Shinobazu Pond

by Kasamatsu Shirō, originally 1938

IHL Cat. #19 
IHL Cat. #1207

About This Print

A solitary figure walks toward Benten Temple under a steady rain.  This print was issued in two color schemes, the more commonly encountered being the purple-hued IHL Cat. #19.  Both color schemes were first issued in 1938 I believe, as both can be found with the Watanabe type-E publishing seal used by the publisher between 1931 and 1941.  
For other prints depicting Shinobazu Pond see Kasamatsu's Hazy Evening at Shinobazu Pond and Kawase Hasui's (1883-1957) Night at Shinobazu Pond.

Shinobazu Pond (不忍池)

Shinobazu Pond is located in Ueno Park in Tokyo. It is an artificial pond with an island in the middle that hosts Bentendo temple. The whole area was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt. Shinobazu Pond has been one of the favorite subjects of Japanese landscape printmakers like Shiro Kasamatsu.

The walkway to Benten Island and Bentendo Temple (rebuilt in 1958).

The park occupies the site of the former Kan'ei-ji, a temple closely associated with the Tokugawa shoguns, who had built it to guard Edo Castle against hostile forces in the northeast. The temple was destroyed in 1868 during the Boshin War. The pond, although modified many times and even once drained, is natural.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #19, #1207
 Title Rainy Night at Shinobazu Pond
 夜雨 不忍池 Yoru ame, Shinobazunoeki
 Kasamatsu Shirō (1898–1991)
 Shirō 紫浪

 Seal Shirō 紫浪 (see above)
 Date originally published January 1938
#19 - Later c. 1946-1957 edition with 6mm Watanabe seal in lower right hand corner of image  [Marks: seal 08-034; pub. ref. 576] Note: image of seal has been enhanced as the black seal is is very difficult to see set against the dark purple background.
ワタナベ Watanabe Shōzaburō (written in Katakana)

#1207 - Likely a first edition with "E" type Watanabe seal in lower right margin 
hankenshoyû fukyofukusei Watanabe Shōzaburō
copyright reserved, all rights reserved Watanabe Shōzabur
 Publisher  Watanabe Shōzaburō (see publisher seals above)
 Impression #19 and #1207: excellent
 Colors #19 and #1207: excellent
 Condition #19: good - slight overall toning (slightly more pronounced in bottom inch of print) and a 1/3 inch thin scratch in top left portion of image. 
 #1207: good - slight toning most prominent along lower margin; tape remnants top margin verso resulting in minor paper loss in top margin on left
 Genre shin hanga (new prints)
 Format ōban tate-e
 H x W Paper #19: 15 3/8 x 10 3/8 in. (39 x 26.4 cm)
 #1207: 14 7/8 x 10 1/16 in. (37.8 x 25.6 cm)
 H x W Image # 19: 14 3/16 x 9 3/8 in. (36 x 23.8 cm)
 #1207: 14 3/16 x 9 3/8 in. (36 x 23.8 cm)
 Collections This PrintNational Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo P00211-028 (unknown edition);Los Angeles County Museum of Art M73.37.354 (purple-hued with 6mm round Watanabe publisher seal in lower right of image, as in this print); Art Institute Chicago 1990.607.242 (purple-hued with unreadable seal); The Art Gallery University of Maryland 2013.2.3.5 (no image shown); Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum 1982.44 (purple-hued with 6mm round Watanabe publisher seal in red lower left of image)
 Reference Literature
Catalogue Raisonné: W-35 as listed in Shiro Kasamatsu - The Complete Woodblock Prints, Dr. Andreas Gund, self-published by the author, 2001; Hanga ni miru Tokyo no fukei; Kanto daishinsai kara senzen made, Ota Kuritsu Kyodo Hakubutsukan, 2002, pl. 246, p. 62.
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