Artist: Hasui KawaseTitle: Blossoms at Heian ShrinePublisher: WatanabeDate: 1930s, this later edition printed from the original woodblocksMedium: Japanese Woodblock PrintSize: koban, 9 x 6.5 inches
Heian Shrine was built relatively recently in 1895 on the occasion of the 1,100th anniversary of the Heian Capital foundation. It is dedicated to the first and last emperors that reigned from Kyoto, Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei. The shrine buildings are a partial replica of the Imperial Palace of the Heian Period, but only about two thirds of the original buildings in scale. Several events are held on the shrine's spacious inner court occasionally. A nice garden is located behind the shrine's main buildings. A visit is most beautiful in April, when the garden's many weeping cherry trees are in full bloom.
KAWASE HASUI (1883–1957) was a Japanese woodblock print maker in the early 20th century. He and Hiroshi Yoshida (1876-1950) are widely regarded as two of the greatest artists of the shin hanga style, and are known especially for their excellent landscape prints. During the forty years of his artistic career, Hasui worked closely with Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962), publisher and advocate of the shin hanga movement. His works became widely known in the West through American connoisseur Robert O. Muller (1911-2003). In 1956, he was named a Living National Treasure in Japan.
Hasui worked almost exclusively on landscape and townscape prints based on sketches he made in Tokyo and during travels around Japan. However, his prints are not merely meisho (famous places) prints that are typical of earlier ukiyo-e masters such as Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). Hasui’s prints feature locale that are tranquil and obscure in the then-urbanizing Japan. The dreamlike quality in Hasui’s prints epitomizes a yearning for the past and a preservation of the past in the midst of rapid modernization.
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