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

Nakazawa Hiromitsu (1874-1964)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Nata-dera (bangai temple)

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

by Nakazawa Hiromitsu, 1925

Illustrated Account of the Sino-Japanese War, Volume 7

IHL Cat. #2315

About This Print

Sources: website of Natadera Temple http://www.natadera.com/EN/ and Gabi Geve's blog WKD - Matsuo Basho Archives https://matsuobasho-wkd.blogspot.com/2012/11/oku-station-37-natadera.html

Founded in 717 by the monk Taicho, Nata-dera is located on Mt. Hakusen in a small valley south of Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. Originally named Iwaya-dera, the temple was renamed Nata-dera in 986 by the retired Emperor Kazan who, it is said, visited the temple after completing his pilgrimage to the thirty-three Saigoku Kannon temple. While not one of the thirty-three temples on the pilgrimage route, it is known as a bangai temple (bangai, literally meaning outside the numbers) due to its religious and historical significance.  

Seven of its buildings are designated important cultural properties and two locations as places of scenic beauty. Visited by the poet Matsuo Basho in 1689, he left us with the following haiku:
Whiter far
Than the white rocks
Of the Rock Temple
The autumn wind blows.

Nakazawa provides us with a winter's view of the temple grounds, with its rocky hillsides covered with snow, the main shrine building and a small cave holding an image of the Kannon. No pilgrims or priests are portrayed in this beautiful and quiet print.

The Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage (Saigoku sanjūsansho junrei) 
Sources: website of cultural anthropologist Martin Gray http://www.taleofgenji.org/saigoku_pilgrimage.html and "Buddhist Pilgrim/Buddhist Exile: Old and New Images of Retired Emperor Kazan in the Saigoku Kannon Temple Guidebooks," Mark MacWilliams, appearing in History of Religions, May, 1995, Vol. 34, No. 4, The University of Chicago Press,  p. 303-328.

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
 Title or Description  Nata-dera  (print 34)
 那谷寺 (三四)
 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)
中澤弘光 [Nakazawa Hiromitsu] printed in lower right margin as shown left
 Seal of the artist
弘 Hiro
 Publication Date   June 15, 1925 大正十四年六月十五日発行 舞鶴要塞可令部検閲済 [As printed in the right margin of this collection's 1925 print Matsunoo-dera IHL Cat. #2245, the only print in the album that carries a date. The date is followed by an inscription indicating the print was inspected and approved by the authorities at the Maizuru Fort Headquarters, 舞鶴要塞可令部検閲済 (Maizuru Fort Headquarters Inspection Approval). Note that the date of publication on the colophon accompanying the complete 1925 album is September 28, 1925 大正十四年九月十八日発行.]
 發行者 金尾種次郎 publisher Kanao Tanejirō
 發兌元 金尾文淵堂 publishing house Kanao Bun'endō

文淵堂版 [Bun'endō han] printed in lower right margin as shown left
 Carver  Okada Seijirō 岡田清次郎 and Ōkura Fujitarō (Ōkura Tōtarō?) 大倉藤太郎
 Note on carvers: the above information is taken from the detailed information in the ADEAC system for the 1925 release. While the printer Okada is well known, the second listed printer 大倉藤太郎 is not and I can find no information on him.
 Printer  Nishimura Kumakichi 西村熊吉 and Yamagata Hidesuki? 山県秀助
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent - light toning throughout
 Genre  shin hanga; shasei kikō (sketch-tour)
 Format  horizontal oban
 H x W Paper 
 10 1/16 x 15 5/16 in. (25.6 x 38.97 cm)  
 H x W Image
 8 1/2 x 11 9/16 in. (21.6 x 29.4 cm)
 Collections This Print
 National Diet Library Call Number 寄別7-8-2-5 (1925 album, no images displayed); National Library Board, Singapore BRN:9854371 (entire 1946 album, no images shown); British Library System number: 017018582 (entire 1946 album, no images shown)Harvard Yenching Library HOLLIS number 990082993710203941 (1925 album, no images displayed)

last revision:
7/4/2020 created