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Archive: Sadanobu (貞信)

Matsugahana ("Headland with pine tree": 松ガ鼻) from the series Naniwa hyakkei no uchi (Set of 100 Views of Osaka: 浪花百景の内)
Sadanobu sha (貞信冩)
No artist seal
Wataki (Wataya Kihei, 綿屋喜兵衞)
Circa 1869-70
(H x W)
Chûban nishiki-e
17.5 x 24.0 cm
Excellent color; good condition (unbacked; light centerfold, trimmed into publisher information in right margin, very minor bleeding of blue pigment lower left corner)
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Inquiry (SDN09)


There has been some debate over whether to judge Sadanobu's efforts in this and related series as mere copying of Hiroshige or as a reworking of his imagery and style to reflect Sadanobu's intimate knowledge of the Kamigata region. Without denying the debt owed to the Edo master, the scholar Matsudaira Susumu believed that other influences included ehon meisho (illustrated books of famous places: 絵本名所) by such Kamigata artists as Takehara Shunchôsai (竹原松朝齋) whose designs often featured written commentaries and a contemplative style similar to many Sadanobu fûkeiga (landscape prints: 風景画). Matsudaira also argued that small-format prints such as the chûban sheets in this series (and especially the even smaller koban and mameban formats in other series) required special skills not only to draw effective scenic views but also to carve and print the designs.*


The place name Matsu-ga-hana (松ガ鼻) was inspired by a great old pine tree whose branches formed a canopy over the river waters where the Kizugawa branched off from the Shirinashigawa. The tree and the many sailing vessels navigating along the rivers made Matsugahana a scenic spot during the Edo period. Sadly, the pine tree was struck by lightening and died during the Taishô period (1912-26).

The original wrapper for this series had a more complete title: Naniwa hyakkei meisho shashin kagami (A Mirror of 100 Famous Views of Osaka — Truthfully Copied: 浪花百景名所写真鏡); a wonderfully effective small-format snow scene in the manner of Utagawa Hiroshige, depicting a celebrated pine tree arching over the Kinu River where it branched off into the Shirinashi River (near the north end of Terajima); the series was never completed — approximately 63 designs known.

References: HSH, no. 181 (series)*