This print shows Miroku Nyorai, Miroku Bosatsu, Buddha of the Future, Bodhisattva of the Present. Also known as Miroku Butsu 弥勒仏 (Miroku Buddha), or Miraibutsu 未来仏 or Shōraibutsu 将来仏 (Future Buddha).
Designed and self-published by the artist, Shiro Kasamatsu was one of only a handful of artists that were successful as both Shin-Hanga and Sōsaku-Hanga artists. Published in 1956, this is a limited edition numbered in pencil 69/100.
Self -published print, Japanese title “Miroku” and dated “1956” in the bottom margin. Block-signed “Shiro Kasamatsu” and red seal at the lower-left corner of the image. Red tiny square seal “Shiro Hanga”, edition number “69/100” on the lower left margin corner. An embossed seal “紫” (Shi from Shiro) on the lower left margin corner. Extremely rare self-published print.
The Woodblock Print
This woodblock is in very good condition, with rich, strong color throughout the woodblock. There is toning to the paper, but it is even across the print with the exception being in the margins (it slightly darks towards the edges).
Very very faint, almost imperceptible matting lines about 1cm from the edges of the print, but as you can see from the scan, imperceptible. Some residue from tipping on the verso.
About the Artist
Shiro Kasamatsu (笠松 紫浪, 1898 – 1991) was a Japanese engraver and print maker trained in the Shin-Hanga and Sōsaku-Hanga styles of woodblock printing.
Kasamatsu was born in Tokyo in 1898, he was apprenticed at the age of 13 to Kaburagi Kiyokata (1878–1973), a traditional master of bijin-ga. Kasamatsu however took an interest in landscape and was given the pseudonym “Shiro” by his teacher. Kasamatsu made woodblock prints for the publisher Shōzaburō Watanabe from 1919 until the late 1940s. Almost all the woodblocks were destroyed in a fire in Watanabe’s print shop following the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. Around 50 prints were published by Watanabe by the late 1940s. Kasamatsu began to partner with Unsodo in Kyoto from the 1950s and produced nearly 102 prints by 1960. He also began to print and publish on his own in the Sōsaku-Hanga style, producing nearly 80 Sōsaku-Hanga prints between 1955 and 1965 (pencil numbered editions).