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Nakayama-dera from the Picture Album of the Thirty-Three Pilgrimage Places of the Western Provinces

Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Nakayama-dera

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

by Nakazawa Hiromitsu, orig. 1925 again in 1946

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7

IHL Cat. #1855

About This Print

Nakayama-dera, located in Takarazuka, Hyogo prefecture, is the 24th temple on the Saigoku Kannon pilgrimage and the oldest Kannon sacred site in Japan. Couples come here to pray for an easy childbirth and the well-being of their unborn child. Nakayama depicts a line of Jizō bodhisattvas, protector of children, within the temple grounds, with small offerings on the ledge underneath them.1 



The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage (Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei) 
Sources: website of cultural anthropologist Martin Gray http://www.taleofgenji.org/saigoku_pilgrimage.html and https://www.revolvy.com/page/Saigoku-Kannon-Pilgrimage

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. 

"It is traditional for pilgrims to wear white clothing and conical straw hats and to carry walking sticks. While the route was historically traveled by foot, today pilgrims usually use cars or trains. Pilgrims record their progress with a prayer book (納経帖 Nōkyō-chō), which the temple staff mark with red stamps and Japanese calligraphy indicating the temple number, the temple name, and the specific name of the Kannon image. Some pilgrims receive the stamps and calligraphy on wall scrolls (for a decorative hanging) and on their white coats (to be cremated in) as well."

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, again, in 1946 (using the original woodblocks) the album contains 57 prints, of which 36 depict temples, the official 33 temples on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage plus three bangai (unnumbered affiliated) temples. The remaining prints in the album are made up of an introduction by the haiku poet Ishikura Suiyō 石倉重繼 (1875-1938), a table of contents, 11 typeset sheets with explanations of each temple, and a woodblock print depicting Nakazawa relaxing on the veranda of his hotel by his friend Akatsuka Cichi 赤塚忠一.

The Original 1925 Release
The 1925 release of this album by the publisher Kanao Tanejirō was one of the early manifestations of moving away from text-based sketch-tour guides in book form, such as this collection's book Kinai kenbutsu, Yamato (Nara) no maki, where illustrations played a secondary role, to more image-centric compilations of oban size single sheet woodblock prints accompanied by explanatory text.  Scott Johnson, in his article on the sketch-tour genre notes:
[T]he sketch-tour books led directly to the more widely known genre of shin-hanga landscape prints. Although the landscape print movement attracted new artists and publishers, many of the figures active in the 'sketch-tour' book genre became pioneers in shin-hanga landscape prints. The popularity of these single-sheet prints ironically prompted the demise of the 'sketch-tour' books themselves.1

The Second Edition 1946 Release
In looking at various websites presenting images of this album, I am left with some confusion about the 1946 re-printing. I have noted that the 1946 printing may have been packaged in two different portfolios, one reusing, or reprinting, the original 1925 portfolio, as shown below on the left, the other using a newly printed portfolio, as shown below on the right. In addition, the 1946 prints may also have been sold individually as well as packaged as a set in the portfolio.

 
 
The portfolio on the left was used to package the original 1925 release
and, I believe, was re-used to package some the 1946 album.
The portfolio on the right was used only for the 1946 prints.

Comparison of 1925 and 1946 Printings
While the same blocks were used for both releases, subtle printing differences can be seen between the two releases. (See comparison of the first and second edition releases of the print Mastunoo-dera below.) However, the most obvious difference between the first and second editions is the presence of a printed notation in the bottom right margin of the first edition which is absent in the 1946 second edition. The notation on the first edition includes either just the date of when the contents of the album were approved (see "Notation 1" below), or the approval date plus the title of the album, the print number (corresponding to the temple's number on the pilgrimage route), the artist's name, followed by the publisher's name (see "Notation 2" below), or just the name of the album, the print number (corresponding to the templ's number on the pilgrimage route), the artist's name, followed by the publisher's name (see "Notation 3" below).

Comparison of 1925 (left) and 1946 (right) releases of Matsunoodera

Notations in the right margin of the original 1925 edition
Notation 1
right margin of a 1925 released print showing date and approval/inspection statement.
大正14年六月十五日
舞鶴要塞可令部検閲済
 Notation 2
right margin of 1925 released print showing date and approval/inspection statement along with album title, temple pilgrimage route number, artist and publisher names.
大正14年六月十五日舞鶴要塞可令部検閲済

西國三十三所巡禮畫卷 / 九 / 中澤弘光 /
(文淵堂版)
Notation 3
right margin of 1925 release showing series name, temple pilgrimage route number, followed by the artist and publisher names.
西國三十三所巡禮畫卷 / 九 / 中澤弘光 /
(文淵堂版)


The Original 1925 Release
note: not shown are the explanatory sheets and the introductory sheets and the colophon which is imprinted on the inside of the album cover.

Outer box (left) and album portfolio (right)

Table of contents


1 Jizō is a protector of children, especially those who died before hearing the teachings of the Buddha.  Many folktales describe how Jizō protects such children from the cruel demon  messengers from hell. 
2 "Sketch-tour Books and Print of the Early Books Twentieth Century" by Scott Johnson, appearing in Andon 37, June 1991, p. 3. 

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #1855
 Title or Description  Nakayama-dera 中山寺 (temple 24)
 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  Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)
 Signature
 not signed
 Seal of the artist  弘 Hiro
 Publication Date  January 18, 1946 昭和二十一年一月十八日発行
 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  Okada Seijirō 岡田清次郎 
 Printer  Nishimura Kumakichi 西村熊吉 and Takagi Seikō (Kiyomitsu) 高木淸光
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent - mounting residue three place along top verso
 Genre  shin hanga
 Miscellaneous
 Format  horizontal oban
 H x W Paper 
 8 7/8 x 12 in. (22.5 x 30.5 cm) 
 H x W Image
 8 3/8 x 11 3/8 in. (21.3 x 28.9 cm)
 Literature   
 Collections This Print
 National Diet Library Call Number 寄別7-8-2-5 (entire 1925 album, no images shown); National Library Board, Singapore call no. 759.952 NAK (entire 1946 album, no images shown); British Library System number: 017018582 (entire 1946 album, no images shown)

last revision:
1/5/2020 created
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