Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社 (嚴島神社), Itsukushima-jinja) is a Shinto shrine on the island of Itsukushima (popularly known as Miyajima), best known for its “floating” torii gate. The shrine complex is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Japanese government has designated several buildings and possessions as National Treasures.
The Itsukushima shrine is dedicated to the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto: Ichikishimahime no mikoto, Tagorihime no mikoto, and Tagitsuhime no mikoto. Otherwise known as the sanjoshin or “three female deities”, these Shinto deities are the goddesses of seas and storms. Kiyomori believed the goddesses to be “manifestations of Kannon,” therefore the island was understood as the home of the bodhisattva. In Japanese, Itsukushima translates to mean ” island dedicated to the gods” In fact, the island itself is also considered to be a god, which is why the shrine was built on the outskirts of the island.
In the 1920s, the publisher Hasegawa commissioned a small group of artists to create woodblock prints for a series entitled “Hasegawa’s Night Scenes“, of which there were a total of 21 prints by 6 artists; this is one of those designs.
The Woodblock Print
This chuban-sized woodblock is in excellent. Rich color, crisp detail, clean and intact margins. Mostly clean verso with two remnants of archival tape in the top edge. “Made in Japan” stamped on the verso. A beautiful mid-edition printing.
Shoda Koho (庄田耕峯, ca. 1871-1946) was a Japanese artist associated with the shin-hanga (“New Prints”) art movement in Japan during the early 20th century. This movement was influenced by European Impressionism and its imagery focused on landscapes, women, and nature.
Kan Shoda( also sometimes identified as Hiroshima Koho), born in Kanda, Tokyo as the second son of Yasushi Shoda. After graduating from school be became a student of Ogata Gekko to study historical portraits and bijin-ga, and entered the Chuo Shimbun to draw illustrations. The third prize was given at the “Ningyo Maizu” exhibited at the 4th Painting Co-Promotion Society of the Japan Youth Painting Association held in 1895, and the 2nd painting of the Japan Painting Association in 1897.
Shoda Koho’s entire body of work seems to have been done for Hasegawa/Nishinomiya Publishing and ranged from standalone prints, illustrations that were done for various books and calendars, and series such as in the Hasegawa’s Night Scenes series) and the series “Japanese Scenes on Tanzaku“.