Eight Views of Omi: Morning at Awazu
(Omi hakkei no uchi: Omi hakkei no uchi: Awazu)
titled, dated and signed at lower right, Omi hakkei no uchi Awazu, Taisho rokunen gogatsu Shinsui (Eight Views of Omi, Awazu, Taisho 6 , 5th month, Shinsui), with limited edition publisher's seal on verso, Ito Shinsui ga, Omi hakkei, shusatsu nihyaku mai kagiri no uchi dai - ban (picture by Ito Shinsui, Eight Views of Omi, limited edition of 200, not numbered), and with large oval Kintei (with compliments) seal, May 1917
aiban yoko-e 8 7/8 by 12 3/8 in., 22.5 by 31.5 cm
In 1917 Shinsui and the publisher Watanabe Shozaburo (1885-1962) embarked on a print series rooted in tradition, the landscape theme of Eight Views of Omi (Omi Hakkei), which was adapted from a classical Chinese landscape grouping, Eight Views of the Hsiao and Hsiang. The Japanese version is a collection of eight famous views of the scenic area around Lake Biwa, paired with eight poetic references: Evening Snow at Mount Hira, Night Rain at Karasaki, Autumn Moon at Ishiyama, Returning Sails at Yabase, Wild Geese Descending at Katada, Evening Bell at Miidera, and this one, Clear Breeze at Awazu. The 'Eight Views' grouping was a popular subject for numerous print series in the Edo Period (1600-1858); the annals of ukiyo-e are replete with variations, puns and parodies referencing the general framework provided by the poetic theme.
This classic series was perhaps Shinsui and Watanabe's most creative, experimental and important collaboration. While adhering to the traditional subject, the artist, carver, printer and publisher explored the possibilities of the woodblock print medium. Watanabe later explained his approach in the early stages of development of shin-hanga in an article published in 1921: "I came to realize the modern works have two shortcomings. First, they try to emulate hand-drawn brushstrokes. Second, constrained by the old traditional models, they failed to experiment with anything new." (Shimizu Hisao, p. 26)
Kato Junzo, comp., Kindai Nihon hanga taikei, 1975-76, Vol. 1, pl. 170
Tadasu Watanabe, Ito Shinsui: All the Woodblock Prints, 1992, p. 32 pl. 11
Amy Reigle Stephens, gen. ed., The New Wave: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collectio, 1993, no. 235
Amy Reigle Newland, gen. ed., Printed to Perfection: Twentieth-Century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, 2004, p. 106 no. 93
Koyama Shuko, Beautiful Shin Hanga- Revitalization of Ukiyo-e, Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum, 2009, no. 2-28
Shimizu Hisao, The Publisher Watanabe Shozaburo and the Birth of Shin-Hanga, in Kendall Brown, ed., Water and Shadow: Kawase Hasui and Japanese Landscape Prints, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 2014, pp. 23-31
Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, 2015, p. 106 cat. no. 48
(inv. no. 10-5026)
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
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site last updated
December 7, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
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