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Illustration of His Imperial Majesty's Funeral Outside Nijūbashi

Oka Shikanosuke (1898-1978)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Illustration of His Imperial Majesty's Funeral

Outside Nijūbashi , 1912

by Hanpo

Snow at Kinkaku Temple from the series New Selection of Noted Places of Kyoto

IHL Cat. #2214

About This Print

Bordered in black, this is one of two prints (the other being the triptych Illustration of the Main Gate at Aoyama During the Imperial Funeral Ceremony) created by the artist picturing the September 13, 1912 evening funeral procession for Emperor Meiji from the Imperial Palace to the Aoyama military parade grounds. While this print depicts the procession just after its departure from the Imperial Palace and passage over Nijūbashi, the triptych depicts the procession as it enters the Aoyama military parade grounds, where it ends.

The funeral session was enormous in scale, involving more than 20,000 people. It began at 8:00 p.m. with the departure from the palace grounds through the main gate at Nijūbashi (Double Bridge). It is this first stage of the procession that is represented in the in the hexaptych, the format of which certainly lent itself to such an occasion.

At the center of the procession was the hearse, which was pulled by five oxen and accompanied by some three hundred individuals carrying torches, drums, gongs, banners, bows, shields, and lances. Among those closest to the hearse were imperial prices, senior members of the aristocracy and peerage, and high-level military personnel of the army and navy in full dress uniform. The contrast between those wearing ancient court dress and those resplendent in Western-style uniforms, with black armbands was a vivid one, and well captured by the artist.1

For a more complete description of the procession and related activities see Illustration of the Main Gate at Aoyama During the Imperial Funeral Ceremony.

For a print announcing the funeral for the Empress Dowager Eishō, the arrangements for which were the precedent for the Emperor's funeral see IHL Cat. #1809, Empress Dowager Eishō’s Imperial Funeral, 1897.

1 Conflicts of Interest: Art and War in Modern Japan, Philip K. Hu, et. al., Saint Louis Museum of Art, 2016, p. 276-277.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description
 Illustration of His Imperial Majesty's Funeral Outside Nijūbashi
 二重橋外御大葬之圖 Nijūbashi-gai Gotaisō no zu
 Artist Hanpo (active 1904-1912)
Hanpo kinga (respectfully drawn) 
 Seal of the Artist not sealed
 Publication Date 1912 Meiji 45/Taishō 1 (大正元年 as shown in publisher's seal below)
武川卯之吉 Takekawa Unokichi
[firm name: Unosuke]

向島寺島新田  千九百
Mukōjima Terashimashinden 1943

[Marks: pub. ref. 522; seal not shown]

清和堂 刀 Seiwadō tō

 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - three sheets joined together and backed with heavy album paper; two vertical folds; light soiling 
 Genre nishiki-e; kaika-e
 Format horizontal ōban hexaptych
 H  x W Paper 14 11/16 x 56 in. (37.3 x 142.2 cm)
 H x W Image 14 11/16 x 56 in. (37.3 x 142.2 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 2000.538a-f; St. Louis Art Museum 829:2010a-f;  Art Gallery of South Australia DFJN2015PRJW0028