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Archive: Sadanobu (貞信)

Nyoigatake Daimonji (如意嶽大文字) from the series Miyako meisho no uchi (Set of Famous Views of the Capital: 都名所之内)
Sadanobu ga (貞信画)
No artist seal
Osaka Wataya Kihei-ban (大坂綿屋喜兵衞板)
Circa 1870-71
(H x W)
17.5 x 24.0 cm
Very good color; good condition (unbacked; tear in upper margin; slight soil in left margin; rubbing in lower right corner)
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The series Miyako meisho no uchi (Set of Famous Views of the Capital [Kyoto]: 都名所之内) is known to include at least 30 designs. The original wrapper for this series had an alternate title: Miyako meisho shashin kagami (A Mirror of Famous Views of the Capital [Kyoto]— Truthfully Copied: 都名所写真鏡). It followed closely upon the publication in 1856-58 of Utagawa Hiroshige's Meisho Edo hyakkei ("One hundred views of the famous places in Edo"). Without denying the debt owed to the Edo master, 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. The scholar Matsudaira Susumu believed that other influences included ehon meisho (illustrated books of famus places: 絵本名所) by such Kamigata artists as Shunchôsai, whose contemplative style was similar to many Sadanobu fûkeiga (landscape prints: 風景画).*


A striking small-format scene in the manner of Utagawa Hiroshige, depicting a full moon and part of the Daimonji gozan okuribi ("Large character sending-off fire on five hills": 大文字五山送り火) on Mt. Nyoigatake (如意嶽山), the best known of five bonfires lit in the Higashi mountains bordering eastern Kyoto to mark the end of Bon-matsuri (Festival of the Dead) during the seventh month on the lunar calendar (held today during the eighth month); the character for dai ("large") seen in red, burning on the side of the mountain.

References: HSK, no. 273; HSH, no. 182 (series)*