Tokuriki Tomikichirô (1902-2000 徳力富吉郞) was born in Kyoto. He graduated from the Kyoto City School of Fine Arts and Crafts and the Kyoto City Specialist School of Painting in 1924. He also studied nihonga (Japanese-style painting: 日本画) at the private school of Tsuchida Bakusen (1887-1936) and with Yamamoto Shunkyo (1871-1933). From 1929 Tokuriki focused on mokuhanga (block prints: 木版画), and he also actively promoted sôsaku hanga ("creative prints": 創作版画) in Kyoto. He published many sets and series before World War II, and afterwards established the Matsukyû Publishing Company to produce and distribute his prints and through its subdivision, Kôrokusha, to publish self-carved and self-printed hanga as well as works by other artists such as Kotozuka Eiichi (1906-1979), Takahashi Tasaburô (1904-1977), and Kamei Tôbei (1901-1977). For much of his long life Tokuriki taught many artisans and artists, some of them non-Japanese, and he traveled extensively, thus his influence was significant in the world of hanga. He is perhaps best known to Westerners through his many print designs in the shin hanga ("new prints": 新版画) manner for various series published by the three main Kyoto firms — Uchida, Unsôdô, and Kyoto Hanga-in. His self-carved, self-printed sôsaku hanga are highly valued by collectors and curators. The artist recognized this dichotomy, saying, "I'd rather do nothing but creative prints, but after all, I sell maybe ten of them against two hundred for a publisher-artisan print."
This imposing Heian torii (shrine gate or toriigata: 鳥居形) was constructed in 1895 to commemorate 1,100 years since the founding of Kyoto. Today, the torii is one of the city's many popular attractions. The Heian Shrine (平安神宮, Heian Jingû) is dedicated to the spirits of the first and last emperors who reigned from the city, Emperor Kammu (737-806) and Emperor Komei (1831-1867). Each year, the shrine's court is used as a site for the Jidai Festival on October 22, the anniversary day of the foundation of Kyoto. The main event features a parade of people in costumes from different periods of Japanese history as the procession makes its way from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the Heian Shrine.
According to the folder accompanying the complete portfolio, the blocks were carved and printed by the "Uchida Woodblock Printer" in Kyoto, Japan, that is, the Heian Shrine design was made in the shin hanga manner, with Tokuriki providing a drawing or painted sketch and then the publisher Uchida directing its artisans to make the print.
The block is carved on both sides, with the keyblock design on one front and on the reverse, an additional color-block carving for part of a cross beam, plus a carved color area for a different design. Included as well is an impression of the published print, in fresh condition with vivid color.
Original carved blocks are very seldom available, even for twentieth-century shin hanga. A few of Tokuriki's blocks came on the market around 2010, this being one of them, and nearly all have been dispersed around the world.