Bear Hunting for Gall in Kaga Province from the series Dai Nippon Bussan Zue (Products of Greater Japan)

 

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Bear Hunting for Gall in Kaga Province

from the series Dai Nippon Bussan Zue

(Products of Greater Japan)

by Utagawa Hiroshige III, 1877

Sedge Hat Making in Kaga Province from the series Dai Nippon Bussan Zue (Products of Greater Japan)


IHL Cat. #272

IHL Cat. #1496

About This Print


One of 118 prints in the series Dai Nippon Bussan Zue (Products of Greater Japan), issued in August 1877 to coincide with the opening of Japan’s first National Industrial Exposition (Naikoku Kangyō Hakurankai) held in Tokyo’s Ueno Park. In this print, the Asian black bear (note the white chest mark) is being hunted for his gall.  Kaga Province (加賀国, Kaga no kuni) was an old province in the area that is today the southern part of Ishikawa Prefecture. Ruled by the Maeda clan, the capital of Kaga was Kanazawa. Kaga bordered on Echizen, Etchū, Hida, and Noto Provinces. It was part of Hokurikudō Circuit.1

The artist based many of his designs on the designs that appeared in the 1799 book Nihon Sankai Meisan Zue (Famous Sea and Land Products in Japan), leaving some question whether everything Hiroshige III portrayed in the series was truly the "state of the art" or, as in the case of this print, practiced in the same manner in 1877 when the series was issued. (Although for many activities pictured, things would have looked much the same in 1877 as in 1799.) In many cases, the information in the scroll is also copied from the earlier work.

click on image to enlarge
以斧撃熊手
Illustration of axing the bear from Nihon Sankai Meisan Zue (Famous Sea and Land Products in Japan), 1799

Multiple Editions (Variant Printings)

At least three variant printings (editions) were made of this series.  Each variant printing uses a different colored cartouche containing the series' title, either red, green or rainbow-colored.  Different colored borders were also used and variances in the use of colors and shading are present in the three editions.

Scroll Inscription

Source: National Museum of Japanese History http://www.rekihaku.ac.jp/up-cgi/getdocrd.pl?tn=1544&ti=0&h=./history/w11288752628_28652&ch=2&p=param/nisikie/db_param&o=1501&k=50&l=&sf=0&so=

Notes:
備考]中判 横 錦絵   画工:歌川広重3  版元:大倉孫兵衛 日本橋通一丁目十九番地   主題内容:産業・技術 物産絵  加賀  人名その他:熊 斧 藁頭巾 簑 洞穴  

Scroll:
熊は多く大樹の洞中に住むものなり 猟師枝の付たる木を以て?穴を突探れば 熊木を引入んとして両手を掛て引 く猟師斧を以て熊の手を断切し 或は鎗にてつき皮を解剖して胆をとる すなはち当国を上品とす 黒様豆粉様琥珀様の三種あり 就中琥珀様を上等とす

Bear Hunting and Bear Products

Source: "The Moon Bear as a Symbol of Yama: Its Signifcance in the Folklore of Upland Hunting in Japan," Catherine Knight, article appearing in Asian Ethnology Volume 67, Number 1, 2008, p. 79–101 http://www.scribd.com/doc/3832854/The-Moon-Bear-As-A-Symbol-of-Yama

The Asiatic black bear is known as tsukinowaguma 月の輪熊 in Japanese for the crescent-moon shaped marking on its chest.  The type of hunting pictured in this print is known as ana-gari 穴狩り, or den-hunting, which involved luring a bear out of its winter den and shooting it (although there are no guns in this picture just axes.)  Ana-gari hunting occurred in the spring, and was generally carried out on fine, clear days when hunters could easily move around on the frozen snow.  As early as the 17th century, bear parts were highly sought-after commodities. The huntsmen pictured here are likely the mountain hunters of northern Honshu known as matagi. 

1Wikipedia website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaga_Province


Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #272 and #1496
 Title or Description  Bear Hunting for Gall in Kaga Province
 加州熊并ニ胆ヲ取ル図 Kashū-gama narabi ni kimo o toru zu
 Series
 Dai Nippon Bussan Zue 大日本物産図会 (Products of Greater Japan)
 Artist  Utagawa Hiroshige III (1842–1894)
 Signature  Andō Tokubei appears in cartouche in left margin (the cartouche is partially trimmed on both of this collection's prints)
 Seal  none
 Publication Date  August 01, 1877 (Meiji 10)
 Publisher  Ōkura Magobei 大倉孫兵衛 (Kin'eido; 1843-1921) [Marks: pub. ref. 627] appears in cartouche in right margin (the cartouche is partially trimmed on both of this collection's prints)
 Impression  IHL Cat. #272: good
 IHL Cat. #1496: excellent
 Colors  IHL Cat. #272: excellent
 IHL Cat. #1496: excellent
 Condition  IHL Cat. #272: good - paper remnant right margin verso; small tears top and bottom margins; vertical centerfold with separation in middle of print taped together
 IHL Cat. #1496: good - paper remnant right margin verso; vertical centerfold reinforced verso
 Genre  nishiki-e; kaika-e
 Miscellaneous  IHL Cat. #272: This print carries a number written in Kanji in the left margin, part of which has been trimmed.  Other impressions of this print do not carry this number.
 Format  chuban
 H x W Paper
 IHL Cat. #272: 6 7/8 x 9 1/4 in. (17.5 x 23.5 cm)
 IHL Cat. #1496: 6 13/16 x 9 1/4 in. (17.3 x 23.5 cm)
 H x W Image
 IHL Cat. #272: 6 3/8 x 9 in. (16.2 x 22.9 cm)
 IHL Cat. #1496: 6 3/8 x 9 1/16 (16.2 x 23 cm)
 Literature

 Collections This Print
 Hagi Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum Urakami system: U02976; Waseda University Library Archives 01_04265_0002; University of California, San Francisco Japanese Woodblock Print Collection ucsf_p011; National Museum of Japanese History H-22-1-30-7-20

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