The Chunum Temple, Mt. Chiri, Korea (Chôsen Chiizan Sen’in-ji), from the series Views of Korea, Continued (Zoku Chôsen fûkei).
Originally published in 1940, this is a lifetime edition printed by Watanabe Shozaburo but missing the “6mm seal” which would identify it as a 1946-57 printing; missing this seal is rare but not unheard of.
The image is an everyday scene of women working in the courtyard of a Korean community. The women’s white garments are the brightest focus, and our eyes are led there by the diagonal composition. We see to the right a firepit and hanging pots, perhaps for a communal kitchen. This image, and others like it, were likely done with government support during the war partially as propaganda.
The Woodblock Print
This woodblock printing by Kawase Hasui is a lifetime printing but missing the typical 6mm publishing seal. A lovely impression, but a bit unevenly trimmed in the margins. A light backing has been applied to the print.
About the Artist
One of the most sought-after Japanese printmakers, and perhaps the most recognizable shin-hanga landscape artist. Kawase Hasui (川瀬巴水, 1883-1957) was born to a textile dealer as the first son. His uncle was Kanagaki Robun, a famous playwright. A pupil of Kaburaki Kiyokata who gave him the go of “Hasui”. Afterwards, he got to know Watanabe Shozaburo, then had a chance to see “Omi Hakkei” created by Ito Shinsui from the same school as his, which brought about an interest in the woodblock printing. In 1918, he released three pieces of “Shiobara” from Watanabe Printshop, afterwards, produced a number of landscape prints throughout his life and is considered one of the greats of the Shin Hanga art movement in Japanese woodblock printing.
Notes when buying: Hasui woodblocks were printed and reprinted both during his lifetime and post-mortem. When evaluating a Hasui woodblock, it is important to look carefully at the publisher seal, which will give a rough approximation for when the print in question was published, which can then be compared to when that print was originally published. Learn more about recognizing Watanabe-published editions here.