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Archive: Miki Suizan (三木翠山)

Haru no yo no Kiyomizu (Kiyomizu Temple on a spring evening: 春の夜の清水) from the series Shinsen Kyoto meisho (New selection of famous places in Kyoto: 新選京都名所)
Suizan ga (翠山画)
No artist seal
Seals: Satô Shôtarô han (佐藤章太郎版) upper right of image
(H x W)
Shin hanga woodcut, dai ôban nishiki-e
27.o x 40.4 cm
Excellent color, unbacked; stray pigment beneath onlooker’s feet
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Miki Suizan (1887-1957; 三木翠山) was born in Kinashi, Hyôgo prefecture. His personal name was Miki Saiichirô. He studied painting with the Kyoto artist Takeuchi Seihô (1864-1942). Aside from his Nihonga (Japanese-style paintings: 日本画), his prints appear to number only 14 (6 figure portraits and 8 landscapes), published by Satô Shôtarô in Kyoto in 1924. Impressions of all 14 prints were exhibited, along with the works of leading shin hanga (new prints: 新版画) artists, in a special showing held at the Toledo Museum of Art in March 1930. The exhibition had a significant impact in the United States on collecting and curatorial attitudes toward shin hanga, raising awareness of the genre and promoting scholarly appreciation and sales to museums and individuals.

Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺), formally called Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺), is a Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto founded in the early Heian period (794-1185). It is now part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" UNESCO World Heritage site. (There are other temples also called Kiyomizu, one in Yasugi City (安来市), Shimane and another dedicated to the Buddhist priest and philosopher Nichiren (日蓮 1222-82) in the city of Kamogawa in Chiba Prefecture. The main hall of the Kyoto temple has a large veranda, supported by tall pillars, that juts out over the hillside and offers impressive views of the city. The site is especially popular today during festivals (n.b., at the New Year and in the summer during Bon (盆) when honoring the spirits of one's ancestors).


This is Miki's most evocative landscape. A full moon in a blue, gradated sky bathes the scene in soft light. A male figure holding a walking stick gazes upward, while two women are just barely discernible at the lower left beyond the tree. This view of the hall and pagoda is from the back of the (not visible here) Niômon (Gate of Two Kings: 仁王門, a traditional type of Buddhist temple gate with two wooden warrior guardians called Niô).

The block cutter for this design was Maeda [Kentarô] and the printer Ôiwa [Tokuzô].

Other impressions of this design are included in the collections of the Harvard Art Museums (object no. 1937.106), Honolulu Museum of Art (two impressions, object nos. 19286 and 26625), and Toledo Museum of Art (inv. no. 1939.205).


  1. Brown, Kendall: Fresh Impressions: Early Modern Japanese Prints. Toledo Museum of Art, 2013, pp. 167-178, no. 128.
  2. Reigle-Stephens, Amy: The New Wave, Twentieth-century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection. Leiden: Hotei Japanese Prints, 1993, p. 159.
  3. Toledo Museum of Art, Special Exhibition of Modern Japanese Prints. Toledo Museum of Art, 1930, nos. 114-127 (NB, no. 122).