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Farming Family from the portfolio Japanese Life and Customs A Set of Six Pictures

Wada Sanzō (1883-1967)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Farming Family

from the portfolio

Japanese Life and Customs a Set of Six Pictures

by Wada Sanzō, c. 1950s

Wada Sanzō (1883-1967)

IHL Cat. #1131

About This Print and the Folio

One of six chuban size (8 3/4 x 10 3/4 in.) prints issued as part of a portfolio of six prints titled Japanese Life and Customs by the publisher Kyoto Hangain.  The portfolio was likely first issued in the early 1950s and the designs are replications of pre-WWII designs from the series Occupations of the Shōwa Era in Pictures (Shōwa shokugyō e-zukishi).  As the prints are a smaller format than the original releases, new blocks would have been used.  

As shown below, the portfolio carries the English title Japanese Life and Customs, but references the original series Occupations of Shōwa Japan in Pictures beneath it in Japanese (昭和職業絵盡) .  

In commenting on the original 1940-1941 edition of this print and its idyllic depiction of farm life, Colette Dartnall writes:

"... Wada Sanzō's Farm Family....represents the calm and comfortable life of country family.  The print depicts a mother breast-feeding her baby while her small son and daughter play nearby.  The poverty typical of so man farmers is denied by the inclusion of a plethora of goods (such as the bicycle prominently placed in the foreground) and the suggestion of leisure indicated by the children at play and the seated mother.  The radiant sunlight contributes to the atmosphere of warmth in rural family life. ... [H]owever, [this print is] far from complete in [its] portrayal of the nature of Japanese farm life during the war years. Illness, fatigue, and poverty are all absent and, thus, implicitly denied.  The fragmentation of the household resulting from increasing industrialization, economic depression, and war is perhaps alluded to by the absence of men.  Yet the primacy of women is more likely an effort to champion the value of women doing traditional work."1

click on image to enlarge
和田三造作 [a work by Sanzō Wada]
昭和職業絵盡 [Occupations of Shōwa Japan in Pictures]
三造 [Sanzō followed by 2 small rectangular seals in red]
中判 ["chuban" within gourd-shaped seal]
手摺木版画 六枝組 [handmade woodblock print, set of six]
版元 京都版画院 [publisher Kyoto Hanga In]

label affixed to inside back cover of folio
1 Light in Darkness: Women in Japanese Prints of Early Shōwa (1926-1945), Kendall H. Brown, et. al., Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, 1996, p. 79-80.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1131
 Title/Description Farming Family
 Series Japanese Life and Customs - A Set of Six Pictures
 Wada Sanzō (1883-1967)
 not signed
 not sealed
 Publication Date c. 1950s
 Kyoto Hangain 京都版画院
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - lightly toned
 Genre shin hanga
 Format chuban
 H x W Paper 9 1/4 x 11 1/8 in. (23.5 x 28.3 cm) 
 H x W Image 7 15/16 x 9 1/4 in. (20.2 x 23.5 cm)
 Collections This Print 
 Reference Literature