Home‎ > ‎Artists‎ > ‎Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)‎ > ‎

Snow at Heian Shrine, Kyoto


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Snow at Heian Shrine, Kyoto

by Kawase Hasui, 1948

Kyoto Kinkakuji

IHL Cat. #30

About This Print

Catalogue Raisonné Entry

Source: Kawase Hasui; The Complete Woodblock Prints, Kendall Brown, Amy Reigle Newland, Amsterdam, Hotei Publishing, KIT Publishers, 2003, p. 123.
The Heian shrine was built in 1894 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of the city of Kyoto.  It is dedicated to the emperors Kanmu (r. 781-806) in whose reign the city was established, and Komei (r. 1846-67), the last emperor in Kyoto.  The large garden was principally the work of Ogawa Jihei (1860-1933), whose design was inspired by the aesthetics of the Heian period (794-1185).

Vermilion-colored, blue-tile roofed
two-story structure built in 1895.
Total area 112.8 sq. meters.
Catalogue Raisonné
image and entry
  510 Snow at Heian Shrine
(Heian jingu no yuki Kyoto)
  Work of 1948
Hasui signature with Kawase Seal
Publisher: Watanabe Shozaburo (Seal A)

History of Heian Shrine
Emperor Kammu was born in 737 as the crown prince of Emperor Konin and ascended to the throne in 781 as the 50th Emperor of Japan. Reali zing that the capital of Heijo was small in scale and beneath the dignity of our country, Emperor Kammu transferred the capital to Nagaoka in the province of Yamashiro and, further picking the adjoining districts of Kadono and Atago in 793 as the best possible site for the capital, began to construct a new palace. In the following year, the seat of government was moved to the new capital called the Heian Capital.

In 796, the Emperor held an audience for the first time at the Daigoku-den Palace at which dignitaries celebrated the New Year. This marked the beginning of Kyoto.

During his 25 year reign, Emperor Kammu amended the laws and ordinances, gave relief to the destitute, encouraged learning, innovated the domestic administration, and opened the doors to foreign trade, thereby contributing to the development of the country. For more than 1,000 years, until the Meiji Restoration, Kyoto prospered as the capital of Japan.

The 50th ruler passed away in 806 and was entombed in the Kashiwara Mausoleum in Momoyama, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto.

The year 1895 happened to be the 1,100th year since the Heian Capital was founded. Marking this commemorative year, the citizens of Kyoto decided to prais e the virtues of Emperor Kammu and deify him as the ancestral god of Kyoto. To this end, they created a shrine in the style of Chodo-in, the main edifice of the Heian Capital, dedicating it on March 15th the same year.

Emperor Komei was born in 1831 as the crown prince of Emperor Ninko and acceded to the throne in 1847 as the 121st ruler of Japan. Though brief, his reign of 21 years marked the closing days of the Tokugawa Shogunate and heralded the beginnings of modern Japan. Well cognizant of the turbulent times, the gifted ruler laid the firm foundation of the Meiji Restoration. The Emperor passed away on December 25, 1866 at the young age of 36. The end of his life was characterized by his intense patriotic concern for the welfare and destiny of the country. The Imperial tumulus known as Gotsukinowa Higashiyama Mausoleum is located at Sennyu-ji Temple, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto.

In adoration of the great character and achievements of the Emperor who laid the foundation of modern Japan, the citizens of Kyoto organized an association to deify Emperor Komei at the Heian Shrine in 1938. This propelled a move to rebuild the shrine as a commemorative project marking the 2,600th year of the founding of Japan. The dedication ceremony took place on October 19, 1940.

This is how two Emperors of Japan, one the founder of and the other the last ruler of the Heian Capital, have come to be deified at Heian Shrine. Today, it does not only figure as a tourist attraction for foreign visitors but also serves as the spiritual center of the nation as a whole, as well as of the patriotic citizens of Kyoto.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #30
 Title  Snow at Heian Shrine, Kyoto
 平安神宮の雪(京都)Heian jingū no yuki Kyoto
 Kawase Hasui (1883-1957)
Hasui 巴水
 Seal  Kawase seal (see above)
 Publication Date  1948
 Edition  This print possible first edition (with 6mm round "A"-type seal in lower right corner), but lacks the Ono Gintarō seal in the lower right margin seen in the first edition image in the catalogue raisonné. (For a full discussion of Watanabe publisher seals see "Watanabe Publisher Marks, Seals and Editions")
Watanabe Shōzaburō
Watanabe "A"-type seal (in use from approximately 1918-1924 and 1945-1957)
reading (in Katakana): 
ワタナベ Watanabe Shōzaburō
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent - two small tape remnants verso from previous folio mounting
 Miscellaneous  note the Ono Gintarō printer's seal in the right margin of the Catalog Raisonné print below right and its absence on the print in my collection.
 Genre  shin hanga (new prints)
 Format  ōban tate-e
 H x W Paper  10 1/2 x 15 5/8 in. (26.7 x 39.7 cm)
 H x W Image  9 1/2 x 14 1/4 in. (24.1 x 36.2 cm)
 Collections This Print  Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 2006.512 (identical to this collection's print)
 Reference Literature Catalogue Raisonné: Kawase Hasui; The Complete Woodblock Prints, Kendall Brown, Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, KIT Publishers, 2003, p. 123, pl. 510; Visions of Japan: Kawase Hasui's Masterpieces, Kendall H. Brown, Hotei Publishing, 2004, p. 124, pl. 88.
last revision: