2011/10/12

Full Moon At Hinuma

Tonight (October 12 in Japan) there is a full moon. It will be a "Hunter's Moon" - the farthest, and thus smallest, full Moon of the year. I hope the weather cooperates so that we can view it.

I was surprised to come across this woodblock print of a full moon over Lake Hinuma (1946) by Hasui Kawase 川瀬 巴水 (1883-1957):


I had no idea that Lake Hinuma, where we spend so many days sailing each year, was ever the subject of a woodblock print - let alone by such a famous artist. Kawase was one of the most prolific Japanese artists of the early 20th century. In all, he produced 600 landscape prints, but also other works. Unfortunately, most of his early wood blocks were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

He was part of the "shin hanga" (new print) movement. Unlike Edo Period woodblock artists who designed, cut the blocks, and printed their own art, shin hanga artists split the tasks between artist, wood cutter, and printer, and gave credit to each for their contribution to the finished product. Shin hanga artists also worked to create more limited edition pieces which were not to be mass produced like the famous ukiyo-e pieces were.

Kawase's subjects were mostly landscapes, and the places he chose to depict were not famous places in Tokyo and evirons, but rather picturesque rural areas which still had the appeal of being more natural and undeveloped parts of a rapidly changing Japan. He traveled far and wide and sketched his impressions, returning to Tokyo to create the resulting prints.

Well, I must say that it is those same characteristics (more natural and less developed) which led me to settle in Ibaraki and to choose Lake Hinuma as home for our sailboat Bluesette. Full Moon At Hinuma captures well the serenity we find there.

Enjoy the moon.

4 comments:

HappySurfer said...

Very nice. Do you own this piece? I could never live smack in the city centre too - too concrete and noisy for my liking.

Hunter's Moon - I learned something new. Thank you.

Pandabonium said...

Hey HappySurfer -

Yes, it will be delivered later this week. It's a "Heisei edition" meaning that it was printed after 1989 (the beginning of the Heisei period in Japan). It is from the original wood blocks, but since printed long after the artist's death, it cost only a fraction of what an older print would be.

I really don't like going to the city - like Tokyo. It's OK for a day or so, but the noise and crowds quickly drain my strength and I want to go home!

Bear Bear said...

One of my favorite art pieces! A peaceful serenity.

Pandabonium said...

Bear Bear
Glad you like it. Something about the moon that affects one's emotions, yes?

By the way, I like your new profile picture.