Gion Festival from the series Thirty Subjects [Views] of Kyoto

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Gion Festival

from the series Thirty Subjects [Views] of Kyoto

by Tokuriki Tomikichirō, 1936

IHL Cat. #250

About This Print

This print, picturing the festivities on the night before the Gion Festival in Kyoto, is the original issue (first edition) published by Uchida Art Store (Uchida Woodblock Printing Company) in 1936 as part of the series Thirty Subjects [Views] of Kyoto.  Uchida mounted these prints on a display board with Tokuriki’s authentication seal on the reverse (see detail of board verso and label below.) These square format prints on board were part of a premium set of designs originally sold in a handmade box.  For an image of the box, please see Index for the series Thirty Subjects [Views] of Kyoto. 

This same print, with modifications to the title  and the addition of the artist's name 富吉郎 in the upper left of the print, the removal of the artist's seal in the lower left-hand corner and not mounted on board, was later released as part of the series Twelve Months of Kyoto (Kyō-meisho junikagetsu), as shown below.

Mounting Board verso
Label with series title, artist's name and seal,
and publisher

Re-issued print, 1945
Procession of Yama-Hoko or Floats at Gion Festival - July

from the series Twelve Months of Kyoto
Size: 10 1/4 x 11 1/2 in.

Gion Festival

Source: website
Gion Matsuri is an annual festival of the Yasaka Shrine which begins July 1 and continues through July 31. During this period, a series of Shinto rituals and events take place at Yasaka Shrine and others locations in Kyoto. Yasaka Shrine was originally named Gion-sha and is the head shrine of the thousands of Gion-sha shrines in Japan.

The Gion Matsuri was started in 869 A.D when a bad plague spread in Kyoto. In the first festival, young men carried numbers of wooden floats as a divine intervention to stop the plague. The plague soon ended, and this event became a popular festival. The current form of the decorated floats appeared in the festival during the Edo period.

Yamahoko-junko is the procession of colorful floats through downtown Kyoto. The floats are pulled through the streets by teams of men dressed in traditional costumes.

There are two kinds of floats: yama and hoko. Yama are smaller floats (weight: 1.2 ton - 1.6 ton, height: about 6m) and carried by people on their shoulders. Hoko are giant floats (weight: 4.8 ton - 12 ton, height: about 25m) on large wooden wheels and pulled by people. There are 32 floats in the procession: 25 yama floats and 7 hoko floats.

1 The publication date for this series has variously been given as 1933-34, 1936, 1937, 1938 and 1939.
2 The Carnegie Museum of Art notes that their collection's print is "from the series Views of New Kyoto (Shin Kyoto Jukei)" (as opposed to other sources that state the series was Thirty Views of Kyoto) and dates the print from 1933-34.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #250
 Title きをん會 Gionkai (Gion Festival) - title given on the print
 祇園祭宵山 Gion yoiyama (the festivities the evening prior to the Gion Festival) - title given in the table of contents
note: also seen translated as Thirty Aspects of Kyoto
 Series 京洛三十題 (Kyōraku sanjū dai)
 Thirty Views of Kyoto 
 Tokuriki Tomikichirō (1902-2000)
 Seal tomi (center left corner of image)
 Date 1936
 Edition original (first) edition
 Publisher  Uchida bijutsu shoshi 内田美術書肆
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - light curling of backing board; losses at bottom right corner and several small spots across center; minor bubbling caused by separation of print from backing
 Genre shin hanga (new print)
 Format shikishiban
 H x W Paper 10 5/8 x 9 1/2 in. (27 x 24.1 cm)
 Collections This Print Carnegie Museum of Art 89.28.1359; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 52.514 (later printing)
 Reference Literature Modern Japanese Prints: The Twentieth Century, Amanda T. Zehnder, Carnegie Museum of Art, 2009, p. 175.
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