Meiji prints

  Design: Yamamoto Shōun (1870-1965)  
  Print title: Ferry in snow  
  Album/series title: Shiki no Nagame (Scenes of the four seasons)  
  Size: 21.1 x 30.2 cm (ōban)  
  Original woodblock print    
  Photography: Jacques Commandeur
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Yamamoto Shoun Shiki no Nagame Ferry in snow


Special effects: snow flakes splashed on with gofun (i.e., powdered seashells); embossing (kara-zuri) on the white scarf of the lady on the left and on the mauve head shawl of the lady on the right.

This view is from the east bank of the Sumida river in Edo (current day Tokyo). In the distance on the west bank of the river we see Matsuchiyama hill and Imado bridge. For more detailed information concerning these two landmarks of Edo, see this page of my second website.

This print has a vertical fold in the middle, meaning that it originally was issued as part of an orihon (i.e., folding book).

Artist’s signature and red Shōun seal in bottom right print area:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
shō rise  
un cloud Shōun

Series title in right margin:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
shi four  
ki seasons  
no ’s  
ga   Scenes of the
me scenes four seasons

Followed by print title:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
ki snow  
no ’s  
watari ferry Ferry in snow

Printing and publishing dates in left margin:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
mei light Printed in the
ji government Meiji era,
san three  
kyū nine  
nen year the 39th year (= 1906),
ni two  
gatsu month the 12th month (= December),
go five  
nichi day  
in stamp  
satsu print the 15th day.
kon now Published in
nen year the same year,
kon now  
getsu month the same month,
廿 jūnyū twenty  
hachi eight  
nichi day  
hatsu emit  
go the 28th day.

Followed by the publisher’s address, name and telephone number:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
kyō capital  
shi city Tokyo city,
ni sun  
hon origin  
hashi brdge  
ku district Nihonbashi district,
yoshi good luck  
kawa river  
chō quarter Yoshikawa quarter,
ni two  
ban number  
chi earth, land number 2,
ma pine  
tsuki tree  
hei level  
kichi good luck Matsuki Heikichi,
den electricity  
wa conversation  
ni two  
sen thousand  
ni two  
hyaku hundred  
hachi eight  
roku six  
ban number telephone number: 2286.

Name and address of the publisher in romaji in left bottom margin: “Sold by Daikokaya, H. Matsuki, No. 2, Yoshikawa-cho, Ryogoku, Tokyo, Japan.”

David Bull made an interesting reproduction of just the background of this print as can be seen here.


Provenance: The website of Lella & Gianni Morra

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