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Ginkakuji Snow Scene from the series New Views of Kyoto

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Ginkakuji Snow Scene 

from the series New Views of Kyoto

by Kamei Tōbei, c. mid-1950s


Umenomiya Shrine from the series New Views of Kyoto

IHL Cat. #1124

About This Print

A postcard-size print (approx. 5 x 6.5 in.) depicting a family, perhaps, visiting the Silver Pavilion on a snowy day. 

While the print is undated, the attribution to Kamei Genbei, Genbei being a name used by Kamei after 1953, suggests a mid-1950s or later publishing.  This print is almost certainly from the series New Views of Kyoto as are nine other prints in the collection.

Ginkaku-ji


Ginkakuji (銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion) is a Zen temple along Kyoto's eastern mountains (Higashiyama). In 1482, shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of today's temple, modeling it after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), his grandfather's retirement villa at the base of Kyoto's northern mountains (Kitayama). The villa was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimasa's death in 1490.

As the retirement villa of an art obsessed shogun, Ginkakuji became a center of contemporary culture, known as the Higashiyama Culture in contrast to the Kitayama Culture of his grandfather's times. Unlike the Kitayama Culture, which remained limited to the aristocratic circles of Kyoto, the Higashiyama Culture had a broad impact on the entire country. The arts developed and refined during the time include the tea ceremony, flower arrangement, noh theater, poetry, garden design and architecture.

Today, Ginkakuji consists of the Silver Pavilion, half a dozen other temple buildings, a beautiful moss garden and a unique dry sand garden. It is enjoyed by walking along a circular route around its grounds, from which the gardens and buildings can be viewed.

The first sight of the Silver Pavilion can be enjoyed shorty after entering the grounds. Formally named Kannonden (Kannon Hall), the pavilion's two stories are constructed in two different architecture styles and contain a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. However, the interior of the building is not open to the public.

Despite its name, the Silver Pavilion was never covered in silver. Instead, it is believed that the name arose as a nickname more than a century after the building's construction to contrast it with the Golden Pavilion. Alternatively, it is explained that moon light reflecting on the building's dark exterior (which used to be covered in black lacquer in the past) gave it a silvery appearance.

The pavilion is one of only two buildings on the grounds of Ginkakuji which have survived intact the many fires and earthquakes of the past centuries, although it has been undergoing periodical renovation works to keep it well preserved. Most recently the building's roof was redone and its earthquake resistance was improved. The works were completed in spring 2010.



Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1124
 Title Ginkaku-ji 銀閣寺雪景
 Series New Views of Kyoto 新京都名所
 Artist 
 Kamei Tōbei  (1901-1977)
 Signature 
 not signed
 Seal
unread artist's seal 
 Date c. mid-1950s
 Edition unknown
 Publisher unknown
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair - minor foxing; backed with stiff paper (likely the original mounting trimmed); rubbing with minor image loss
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative print)
 Miscellaneous 
 Format yotsugiri
 H x W Paper and Image 4 13/16 x 6  7/16 in. (12.22 x 16.35 cm)
 Collections This Print The Museum of Modern Art, Wakayama
http://www.momaw.jp/search-db/heritage-list.php?&creatorName=%E4%BA%80%E4%BA%95&pageSize=20
 
 Reference Literature
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