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Archive: Sadanobu (貞信)

Shinsaibashi dôri hatsu-uri no kei (Scene of the first sale on Shinsaibashi Street: 心斎橋通初売の景) 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
Wataki (Wataya Kihei, 綿屋喜兵衞)
Circa 1869-70
(H x W)
Chûban nishiki-e
17.2 x 24.7 cm
Excellent color; good condition (unbacked; several small filled wormholes; paper flaw in lower margin)
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: SDN15


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 scene shown here is one of a crowded street on the second day of the first lunar month as Osaka citizens visit shops for the New Year. Along Shinsaibashi Street, stalls were open every day and night, making it one of the busiest districts in Osaka. The area also included bookstores and publishers, including Wataya Kihei, responsible for producing the present series of Osaka views as designed by Sadanobu.

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); the series was never completed — approximately 63 designs known. This animated design depicts Shinsaibashi, one of the busiest streets in Osaka, open day and night. It is the New Year and street vendors and stall proprietors jostle one another, hawking their wares to potential customers under an evening sky. With humor and vigor, Sadanobu has effectively captured the human spectacle in Osaka as the city's inhabitants usher in the New Year. Wataya Kihei, publisher of the present series, ran his shop at the corner of Shiomachi and Shinsaibashi Streets.

References: HSH, no. 181 (series)*

中判(17.2 x 24.7 cm)