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Nihon Bridge in Snow from the series Fifty-three Modern Views of the Tōkaidō

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Nihon Bridge in Snow

from the series Fifty-three Modern Views of the Tōkaidō 

by Bannai Kōkan, c. 1930


IHL Cat. #35

About This Print

Source: Shin-Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan, Kendall Brown, Hollis Goodall-Cristante, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996, p. 110 and 82, fig. 110 and as footnoted.
Nihon Bridge in Snow by Bannai Kōkan (1900-1963) presents the actual appearance of Nihonbashi but then hides its true face behind a blizzard.  Kokan, a painter who produced prints for Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) in the 1930s, designed this scene as the first work in a proposed, but not realized, series, Fifty-three Modern Views of the Tōkaidō.  

The other two prints realized in the series are Atsuta-Old Castle at Dawn and Lake Ashinoko, Hakone.(See reference images below.)

The full print title is at the upper right corner of the composition, Yuki no Nihonbashi, followed by the artist's name, Kokan. The series title with a shortened print title (lacking 'no yuki') appears along the right-hand margin, Gendai tokaido gojusan tsugi no uchi, Nihonbashi
.

This collection's print is a later, likely post-1957 or Heisei era edition, by Watanabe.  An earlier, and possibly first, edition of the print is shown below.

1 As listed on the website of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Reference Images

An Early Edition with Watanabe "D" Seal

This print shown on the website of Hotei Japanese Prints
displays the Watanabe "D" type seal in the lower part of the
right margin, indicating the print was published between
1929 and 1942.  It is, very possibly, a first edition.

The Other Two Prints Realized in the Series
 
Lake Ashinoko, Hakone
 
Atsuta-Old Castle at Dawn

Nihon Bridge

The Nihon Bridge, built in 1911, is a double-arched stone bridge in the Renaissance style. It was designated as a cultural heritage of Japan in 1999. The original bridge made of wood was built in 1603, at the beginning of the Edo period. The middle of the bridge has been the starting point of five main roads since then, including the Tokaido Road which led to Kyoto. Some of the Metropolitan Expressways in Tokyo were built on waterways at the sacrifice of the riverside scenery in 1960's. You can take shelter from the rain on this famous bridge, for it is completely covered by an expressway.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #35
 Title  Nihon Bridge in Snow (Yuki no Nihon-bashi 雪の日本橋)
 Series  Fifty-three Modern Views of the Tōkaidō
(Gendai Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi 現代東海道五十三次)
 Artist 
 Bannai Kōkan (1900-1963)
 Signature 
 Kōkan in upper right of image
 Seal  unsealed
 Publication Date  c. 1930 original publication date
 Edition  Post-1957 edition with Watanabe publisher 7mm round seal type "I" printed in black in lower right corner.  [Marks: seal 08-034; pub. ref. 576]
 Publisher  Watanabe Shōzaburō (I-type 7mm round seal reading ワタナベ)
 Printer  
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent
 Miscellaneous  a panorama of Nihonbashi with the streetcar crossing and the 1914 Daiei Building.
 Genre  shin hanga (new prints)
 Format  Oban tate-e
 H x W Paper  10 3/8 x 15 1/2 in. (26.4 x 39.4 cm)
 H x W Image  9 3/8 x 14 1/4 in. (23.8 x 36.2 cm)
 Collections This Print  Los Angeles County Museum of Modern Art M.73.37.523 (unspecified edition and no publisher seal can be discerned on the thumbnail image of print); Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 353.2057 (unspecified edition); The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo M00100-001 (unspecified edition); Carnegie Museum of Art 89.28.241 (unspecified edition with round Watanabe publisher seal of unspecified diameter in lower left corner); Mead Art Museum, Amherst College AC 2010.132 (Heisei seal)
 Reference Literature  Shin-Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan, Kendall Brown, Hollis Goodall-Cristante, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1996, p. 82, Fig. 110; Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century, Amanda T. Zehnder, Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009, p. 23.

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