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Zōjōji Temple in Snow

Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870-1949)
 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Zōjōji Temple in Snow

by Tsuchiya Kōitsu, 1933

Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870-1949)

IHL Cat. #978

About This Print

The artist gives us Zōjōji on a calm evening with gently falling snow.  Kōitsu's rendition pales when compared to Kawase Hasui's (1883-1957) evocative rendering of the temple on a snowy evening created eight years earlier, in which Hasui paid homage to the great ukiyo-e print artist Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858).  In 1953, Kasamatsu Shirō (1898–1991), another of the great shin hanga landscape artists, gave us his rendition of the same scene.


Kawase Hasui 
Shiba Zōjōji, 1925
Tsuchiya Kōitsu 
Zōjōji Temple in Snow, 1933
Katsamatsu Shirō
The Main Gate of Zojoji Temple, 1953

This collection's print is a posthumous printing of Kōitsu's original 1933 design which was published by Doi Hangaten as part of the series Tokyo Views. For various editions and states of this print please go to Mark Kahn's website Shotei.com at http://www.shotei.com/publishers/doi/zojoji/zojoji.htm.  For another artist's rendition of the temple see this collection's print Zōjōji Temple from the series Scenes of Last Tokyo.

Zōjōji Temple History

Source: Zozoji website http://www.zojoji.or.jp/en/index.html
Zōjōji was founded in 1393 as an orthodox and fundamental nembutsu1 seminary for Jōdō shu2 in the Kanto (east Japan) region.

Zōjōji was relocated to the present site in 1598 after Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, entered Edo (present-day Tokyo) in 1590 to establish his provincial government. After the start of the Edo Period when the Tokugawa shogunate ruled Japan, Zōjōji became the family temple of the Tokugawa family and an unparalleled grand cathedral was built. Zōjōji also served as an administrative center to govern the religious studies and activities of Jodo shu. In those days, its precincts covered an area of 826,000 square meters which also contained 48 smaller attached temples and about 150 grammar schools. Moreover, as many as 3,000 priests and novices always resided here as students.

Nevertheless, as the Tokugawa shogunate came to an end and the Meiji Era started, an anti-Buddhist movement got under way. The cathedral, temples and the mausoleum of the Tokugawa family were burned down by air raids during World War II. Thus, Zōjōji was profoundly affected by political and social circumstances. Today, however, its cathedral and other structures have been rebuilt, and Zōjōji continues to serve as the main temple of Jodo shu and the central nembutsu seminary for priests and novices. Furthermore, it has endeared itself to the general public as both a grand Buddhist temple typical of the metropolis Tokyo and a hub of religious and cultural activities.

1 The word literally means "buddha in mind" and it has come to mean verbal recitation of the words "I take refuge in Amitabha Buddha" in one language or another.
2
 Jōdo shū (浄土宗, "The Pure Land School"), also known as Jodo Buddhism, is a branch of Pure Land Buddhism derived from the teachings of the Japanese ex-Tendai monk Hōnen. It was established in 1175 and is the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan, along with Jodo Shinshu.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #978
 Title  Zōjōji Temple in Snow (Zōjōji no yuki 増上寺の雪)
 Series  originally released as part of the series Tokyo Views 東京風景
 Catalogue Raisonné  Koitsu.com site reference TK-DH-001
 Artist 
 Tsuchiya Kōitsu (1870-1949)
 Signature 
Kōitsu followed by shinsei 真生 ("genuine") seal
 Seal  shinsei 真生 ("genuine") (see Signature above)
 Publication Date  originally issued January 1933.  This print is a later impression, produced after the artist's death.
 Edition  post-WWII between 1950 and 1963
 Publisher  Doi Hangaten - 土井版画店 (Doi Sadaichi 土井貞一)
版権所有 [copyright reserved]
Koitsu.com reference K-34 seal 1950-1963
[Marks: similar to seal 26-158; pub. ref. 037 and 038]
 Carver  Harada 彫 ハラダ (see publisher seal above - lower left cartouche)
 Printer  Yokoi 摺 ヨコイ (see publisher seal above - lower right cartouche)
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  good - toning to verso 
 Miscellaneous
Doi Hangaten watermark "土" in upper left corner of margin.
Source: March 2000 interview by Andreas Grund with Mrs. Suzue Doi http://www.ukiyoe-gallery.com/doiinterview.htm
Q.: Some prints carry a watermark, while others don't. What is behind this?   A.: This depends on the paper. Sometimes we use paper with our "Do" watermark, sometimes we use plain paper. But even in case a watermark is on the paper, you should know, there is only a single watermark in the upper left corner of each sheet. The sheet, however, has double oban size and is cut half before printing. Consequently, one print gets the watermark, the other not. My printer always urges me, for cost reasons not to continue with the watermarked paper. 
 Genre  shin hanga (new prints)
 Format  oban tate-e
 H x W Paper  15 1/2 x 10 3/8 in. (39.4 x 26.4 cm)
 H x W Image  14 1/4 x 9 3/8 x in. (36.2 x 23.8 cm)
 Collections This Print  
 Reference Literature The Catalogue Raisonne of Tsuchiya Koitsu Meiji to Shin-Hanga, Watercolours to Woodblocks, Ross F. Walker and Toshikazu Doi, Ohmi Gallery Publishing, 2009.
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