Eight Scenic Views Around the Moat: Sakurada Gate
(Horibata Hakkei: Sakuradamon)
the series title Horibata Hakkei and print title, Sakuradamon on upper right margin, with artist's red seal Un within the composition, and Hiratsuka Unichi on lower left margin, self-carved and self-printed, circa 1930s
10 1/4 by 14 3/8 in., 26.1 by 36.5 cm
Unichi Hiratsuka is one of the leading artists associated with the sosaku hanga ('creative print') movement. This series of eight views of the moat around Edo Castle was discontinued after only two designs were issued, the other depicting a view of Tayasu Gate of Kudon (Kudon Tayasumon).
Originally built in 1636, the Sakurada Gate was part of the original Edo Castle grounds before becoming the Imperial Palace grounds in 1868. It is one of the few structures to survive subsequent fires and various rebuilding projects during the Meiji restoration. Although severely damaged, it withstood the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923. As a steadfast gateway to access the grounds, the Sakuradamon is a symbol of protection of the Imperial legacy made poignant due to various incidents that took place at gate in the early modern era including the assassination of an important minister in 1860, a failed assassination attempt on Emperor Hirohito in 1932, and the initiation of a failed coup by military officers in 1936. If this series was begun in the early to mid-1930s, perhaps Unichi abandoned the project following the violent events which had taken place in the area of the castle moat.
Harvard Art Museum, www.harvardartmuseums.org, no. 1978.212
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site last updated
January 8, 2019
Scholten Japanese Art
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