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Archive: Sadanobu (貞信)

Hirotaji setsukei ("View of snow at the Hirota Shrine") from the series Naniwa hyakkei no uchi (Set of 100 Views of Osaka: 廣田社雪景)
Sadanobu sha (貞信冩)
No artist seal
Osaka Wataya Kihei-ban (Wataya Kihei, 綿屋喜兵衞)
Circa 1869-70
(H x W)
17.5 x 24.0 cm
Excellent color; good condition (unbacked; light centerfold, trimmed into publisher information in right margin; tiny wormhole in upper margin)
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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.*


Hirota Shrine, dedicated to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu-omokami, was originally a guardian shrine for Imamiya village and may have been a tutelary shrine for the Shitennoji. The shrine was also known for two types of red and white hagi (bush clover: 萩) planted in the precincts, which drew crowds of onlookers during the autumn. The shrine, which once held spacious grounds, was surrounded by a pine grove called "Hirota no mori" (Hirota woods: 廣田の森).

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); an excellent small-format scene in the manner of Utagawa Hiroshige, depicting a shrine devoted to the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu-omikami; the shrine was famous for its red and white bush clover (hagi), viewed by crowds during autumn; the series was never completed — approximately 63 designs known.

References: HSH, no. 181 (series)*