A seldom-seen example of Sengakuji Temple at Takanawa by Tsuchiya Koitsu with dark, rich colors that are more composed than later recarved editions which tend to be brighter, more brightly saturated, and less tonal. Published by Doi Hangaten, carved by Harada, printed by Yokoi, this print is an exemplary printing, with research dating the printing from 1936-1962 (E seal).
Sengaku-ji (泉岳寺) is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Sōtō school of Japanese Zen located in the Takanawa neighborhood of Minato-ku of Tokyo. It was one of the three major Sōtō temples in Edo during the Tokugawa shogunate, and became famous through its connection with the Akō incident of the forty-seven Rōnin in the 18th century (the 47 Rōnin are buried in its cemetary).
The Woodblock Print
This oban woodblock by Koitsu is in very good condition. Rich, saturated colors are unblemished within the print, the main flaw being the residue/discoloration on the top margin (only within the margin). A clean verso. Beautiful toning and reflections of the lighted areas against the dark rainy night and reflective surfaces. A stunning example of this print with dark, rich colors that are more composed than later editions which tend to be brighter or faded in their tones.
About the Artist
Tsuchiya Koitsu is a well-known artist of the Shin Hanga movement, but not among the trendy names like Hasui. As with many shin hanga artists, Tsuchiya Koitsu specialized in landscape images.
Born in 1879 in rural Japan with the given name Koichi. He became a student of the ukiyo-e master Kiyochika Kobayashi (1847-1915) after starting an apprenticeship for a woodblock carver who worked for Kobayashi. Soon the ukiyo-e master himself took care of the young Koitsu, where he stayed and worked for 19 years in the home of his master. From 1931 on, Tsuchiya Koitsu became one of the artists working for the publisher Watanabe in the shin hanga style. His style is reminiscent of the works of his master Kobayashi and of the famous shin hanga artists Kawase Hasui and Hiroshi Yoshida. In typical shin hanga style Tsuchiya Koitsu intensively used the effects of light to create moods and emotions in his images.