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Album Box with Print of Kannon for the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)

Album Box with Print of Kannon

for the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

by unknown, 1925

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7


IHL Cat. #2414

About The Album Box

The Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces, published in June 1925 by Kanao Tanejirō (1879-1947) through his publishing company Bun'endō, consists of fifty-eight prints (forty-seven woodblock prints and eleven letterpress prints), plus a table of contents printed on a heavy-weight brown cardboard sheet. The prints and table of contents were housed in a red cardboard box with ribbon tie and sold for 25 yen.1  

The box itself is constructed of cardboard, dyed red (and subject to bleeding). The front of the box is decorated with a print carrying the album's title 西国三十三所巡礼画巻 (Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei gakan) and a depiction of Kannon, the bodhisattva of compassion who embodies the compassion of all buddhas and is venerated in almost all Buddhist traditions. The eleven-faced, or headed, Kannon depicted on the print bears witness to the multitude of suffering of all sentient beings.

Neither the album's colophon or table of contents tells us who designed the cover print, but it may well have been Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964), the artist who conceived the project with the publisher, as further described in the article on this site "Nakazawa Hiromitsu - Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces".  

For the 1946 re-print of this album, as described in the above referenced article, a different album enclosure was used.

Overview of the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces
On December 1923, only a few months after the Great Kantō Earthquake devastated the Tokyo area, Nakazawa Hiromitsu along with his two friends, the poet Ishikura Suiyō and the artist Akatsuka Chūichi, began their pilgrimage to the thirty-three temples comprising the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, taking seventy-eight days to complete the route. The result of their pilgrimage was Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces published by Kanao Tanejirō of the publishing house Kanao Bun'endō.


Album Box Laid Flat
The colophon is printed directly on the box - upper right image


Detail of Colophon Printed on the Inside of the Box
click on image to enlarge
大正十四年九月十五日印刷 Printed: September 15 1925
 大正十四年九月十八日発行 Published: September 28, 1925
金貳五圓 Price 25 yen
  編輯者 金尾種次郎 Editor: Kanao Tanejirō
合資会社金尾文淵堂 代表者 Representative: Gōshi Gaisha [1] Kanao Bun’endō
発行者 金尾種次郎 Publisher: Kanao Tanejirō
彫刻及 印刷者  岡田清次郎 Carver and Printers: Okada Seijirō [carver];  大倉藤太郎 Okura Tōtarō 西村熊吉 Nishimura Kumakichi・ 山縣秀助 Yamagata Hidesuki・ 松本兄弟堂 Matsumoto Kyōdaidō
製本及 製函者 Bindery: 大杉菊平 Ōsugi Kikuhira  永井佐一郎 Nagai Miyaji
東京市麹町田町二丁目番地 Tokyo address of publisher
大阪市西玉出町九七〇番地 Kyoto address of publisher
發兌元 金尾文淵堂  Publisher: (hatsudamoto) Kanao Bun'endō 
Notes: [1] Name romanizations in italics may not be accurate
[2]  Gōshi Gaisha is a type of "unlimited liability" incorporation

1 Approximately ten US dollars at the time or roughly 140 to 150 current US dollars.

The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage (Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei) 

Japan's most famous pilgrimage, originating in the 11th century, encompasses 33 Buddhist temples in Western Japan (Kansai region) dedicated to Kannon (bodhisattva Avalokitasvara), the Bodhisattva of Compassion, who hears the cries of the world and assists anyone in distress.

The 33 temples on the approximately 1,000 kilometer pilgrimage route correspond to Kannon's ability to take on 33 different forms. One hundred thousand pilgrims navigate the route in its entirety or part each year.

Note: For a listing of all 33 temples go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saigoku_Kannon_Pilgrimage. To access an interactive map of the route and its temples go to https://www.thetempleguy.org/p/saigoku-33-kannon-route.html and scroll down towards the bottom of the page.

About the "Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces" 

First issued in 1925 and reprinted in 1946, the 1925 album contains 58 prints and the 1946 album 59 prints. For detailed discussion of the two editions and additional information on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage see this site's article Nakazawa Hiromitsu - Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces.

Nakazawa Hiromitsu - Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces
click on the image to go to the article

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #2413
 Title or Description  Album box with print of Kannon
 Series  Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces
 西国三十三所巡礼画巻 Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei gakan
 Artist  unknown
 Signature
 not signed
 Seal of the artist
 no seal
 Publication Date  September 28, 1925 大正十四年九月十八日発行 as printed on colophon appearing on the inside of the album box.
 Publisher  發行者 金尾種次郎 publisher Kanao Tanejirō
 發兌元 金尾文淵堂 publishing house Kanao Bun'endō
 Carver  not applicable
 Printer  unknown
 Impression  print: excellent
 Colors  print: fair - toning has darkened colors
 Condition  print: poor - soiling throughout, some image loss and toning
 box: poor - fading and discoloration of surfaces exposed to light; ribbon tiedown missing; separation along some folds of box 
 Genre  shin hanga; shasei kikō (sketch-tour)
 Miscellaneous
 Format  horizontal oban
 H x W Paper 
 print: 9 7/16 x 12 7/16 in. (24 x 31.6 cm)  
 box overall dimensions: 10 7/16 x 15 1/2 x 3/4 in. (26.5 x 39.4 x 1.9 cm)
 H x W Image
 print: 8 11/16 x 11 3/4 in. (22.1 x 29.8 cm) 
 Literature   Nakazawa Hiromitsu kenkyū: Hon karano kenshō, Hiromitsu Nakazawa, Mitsunobu Satō, et. al., Mitsui Kōkei, Tokyo, 2006, p. 46-48.
 Collections This Print
 National Diet Library Call Number 寄別7-8-2-5 (1925 album, no images displayed); Harvard Yenching Library HOLLIS number 990082993710203941 (1925 album, no images displayed)

last revision:
12/25/2020 created

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