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Inbanuma from the series Japan Scenery Prints, Set 4: Shimōsa District

Ennosuke in the role of the Exiled King and Tōzō in the role of warrior priest Kōku

Japanese Color Woodblock Print


from the series Japan Scenery Prints,

Set 4: Shimōsa District

by Ishii Hakutei, 1917

Daidokō from the series Japan Scenery Prints, Set. 8: Korea District

IHL Cat. #1182

About This Print

This print pictures a lonely fisherman's hut on Inba marsh, located in current day northeastern Chiba Prefecture on the Shimōsa Plateau about 50 km northeast of Tokyo and about 15 kilometers west of Narita Airport.

About The Series Japan Scenery Prints

Source: Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints - The Early Years, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, p. 274-276.

"The series consisted of ten sets of prints.  Each set was composed of five small landscapes and a cover print giving the name of the series, the name and number of the set, and the name of the artist.  In addition, each set was accompanied by a table of contents and colophon sheet in standard type.  Specific publication dates ranging from January 1917 through April 1920 indicate that each set was issued separately.  Since Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958) designed a total of three sets while the other artists did one or two each, it seems likely that Hakutei was the spearhead for the project.  The artists asked Igami Bonkutsu to carve the blocks and Nakajima Jūtarō to publish the series.

The Nihon fūkei hanga series was another experiment. . . in creating modern prints through the cooperation of carvers and printers.  As they had done in the production of Hōsun, the artists put aside the self-carving/self-printing slogan.  The main point, they reasoned, was that they were designing for woodblocks and supervising the carving and printing themselves.

Since there is no indication of the edition size, the artists may have intended to follow the usual Japanese publishers' practice of making as many as they could sell.  The price is listed on each colophon sheet as one yen fifty-six sen for one set.  A notation of postage or shipping cost was pasted onto some of the colophons suggesting that sets were distributed by mail and indicating that Nakajima Jūtarō had not anticipated the problem of postage and had to improvise a means to tell his customers of the extra charge. Hiratsuka Un'ichi (1895-1997), who helped with the carving of some of the late sets while he was studying with Igami Bonkotsu, recalled seeing advertisements for the series in small magazines.

Although the series was neither carved nor printed by the artists, it marked a significant step toward creative independence by shifting the initiative from the hanmoto [publisher] to the artists." 

The Six Artist's Involved
In addition to Ishii Hakutei (1182-1958), the other artists who contributed to the series were Sakamoto Hanjirō (1882-1969) [see this collection's print Sea of Fire from the series Japan Scenery Prints], Hirafuku Hyakusui (1877-1933), Morita Tsunetomo (1881-1933), Kosugi Misei (1881-1964) and Ishii Tsuruzō (1887-1973), elder brother of Hakutei

Volume 4: Shimōsa
Transcription of cover: 日本風景版画 第集 下総之部 石井柏亭画
Nihon fukei hanga dai-yon shū Chōsen no bu Ishii Hakutei ga
[Japan Scenery Prints, Volume 4, Shimōsa District, pictures by Ishii Hakutei]

click on image to enlarge
Source: National Diet Library Digital Collections
table of contents
click on image to enlarge
The list of print titles and their subtitles(right to left):
船橋…海辺のかき灰小屋 [Funabashi...]
野田…利根河岬の揚場 [Noda...]
銚子…犬若の浜辺 [Chōshi...]
印旛沼…沼辺の荒涼 [Inbanuma...]

佐原…利根川の? [Sawara...]
Source: National Diet Library Digital Collections

Print Details
 IHL Catalog #1182
 Title Inbanuma (印旛沼) subtitled "the desolate marsh" 沼辺の荒涼 in table of contents
 Series Japan Scenery Prints, Set 4: Shimōsa District
 (日本風景版画 第集 下総之部 Nihon fūkei hanga, dai-yon shū Shimōsa no bu)
 Note: Series is also seen translated as "Landscape Prints of Japan".
 Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958)
 Publication Date
 October 15, 1917
 Edition first
 Nakajima Jūtarō 中島 重太郎 of the Japan Scenery Prints Association 日本風景版会  [Marks: pub. ref. 368]
 Carver Igami Bonkotsu 伊上凡骨 (1877-1933)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - remnants of mounting top margin
 Genre sosaku hanga (creative print); moku hanga
 Format chuban
 H x W Paper 7 3/16 x 10 in. (18.3 x 25.4 cm)
 H x W Image 6 11/16 x 9 7/16 in. (17 x 24 cm)
 Collections This Print Carnegie Museum of Art
 Reference Literature  Guide to Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints: 1900-1975, Helen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1992, p. 264-265; Modern Japanese Woodblock Prints - The Early YearsHelen Merritt, University of Hawaii Press, 1998, p. 275; Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century, Amanda T. Zehnder, Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009, p. 56.