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Archive: Sadanobu (貞信)

Shijô-bashi yori Nawate-dôri Yamato-bashi o nozomu (四条橋より縄手通大和橋を望); Series: Miyako meisho no uchi (Set of Famous Views of the Capital [Kyoto]: 都名所之内)
Sadanobu ga (貞信画)
Artist seal ("ying-yang" symbol for the Sadanobu lineage)
Osaka Wataya Kihei-ban (大坂綿屋喜兵衞板)
Circa 1870-71
(H x W)
Chûban nishiki-e
17.4 x 24.5 cm
Excellent color and overall condition (unbacked; light creases, printer's artifact in upper right margin, small thinned area and light stain residue on right border alongside publisher's address)
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: SDN19


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 famous 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).*

The scholar R. Keyes (see TWOP in the Bibliography) has suggested that Sadanobu's landscapes signed with sha ("copied by") often owe a more direct debt to specific designs by Hiroshige, compared to those signed with ga or hitsu ("drawn by" or "painted by"), as in this example. However, "copied" is rather too strong a word for Sadanobu's adaptations, and it is not not always clear which Hiroshige compositions (depicting Edo or other locales) might have served as inspiration for particular Sadanobu designs. In the present instance, the elements of design fall squarely within the Hiroshige sphere of influence, but the arrangement of those elements are Sadanobu's own, presumably based on his knowledge of Kyoto and his artistic response to the scenes he wanted to portray.


The title of the print reads Shijô-bashi yori Nawate-dôri Yamato-bashi o nozomu ("View from Shijô Bridge toward Yamato Bridge at Nawate Street": 四条橋より縄手通大和橋を望). The most visible ideogram written on the umbrella in the foreground reads wata (綿), the first character in the publisher's name (Wata-ya). The second ideogram appears to read Osaka (大坂).

Sadanobu's composition, while reminiscent of Hiroshige's works, demonstrates his skill at depicting atmospheric fûkeiga in Kamigata (Osaka-Kyoto-Kobe region).

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