Title: Night at Hasedara TempleArtist: Hasui KawasePublisher: WatanabeDate: 1950, lifetime edition with 6mm sealMedium: Japanese Woodblock PrintSize: oban, 10.25 x 15.5 inches
The main hall of Hasedera Temple is one of the biggest halls of all the temples in Nara, extending southwards on a raised stage. 'Juichimen Kannon', a eleven-faced divine savior of all the people in the world, has ten faces on the top of its main face. The statue of 'Juichimen Kannon,' which is about 10m in height, is covered in gold. Hasedera Temple is famous for its peony garden and has 7,000 plants and 150 species of peony planted in the grounds. It is a breath taking site when they are in full bloom.
KAWASE HASUI (1883â€“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). Hasuiâ€™s prints feature locale that are tranquil and obscure in the then-urbanizing Japan. The dreamlike quality in Hasuiâ€™s prints epitomizes a yearning for the past and a preservation of the past in the midst of rapid modernization.
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