Himeji Castle, Evening (1926) by Hiroshi Yoshida.
If you’ve ever seen Akira Kurosawa’s Ran then you’ve seen Himeji Castle inside as well as out, a memorable sight not only for its vast size—the castle is the largest in Japan—but also for its brilliant white facade. Despite the building’s great age and importance it doesn’t seem to have been a popular subject for ukiyo-e prints which makes me wonder if there was ever a prohibition against this. Or were castles an unpopular subject compared to the more familar views of shrines and temples? Whatever the reason, all the prints here are from 20th- and 21st-century artists showing the place in a variety of seasons and weathers. The castle also appears in Kurosawa’s Kagemusha, a film I haven’t seen for many years. Time for a re-viewing, I think.
Himeji Castle (1930) by Hasui Kawase.
Himeji Castle (1942) by Toshi Yoshida.
Himeji Castle (1948) by Hasui Kawase.
Himeji Castle (c.1950s) by Tomikichiro Tokuriki.
Continue reading “Fourteen views of Himeji Castle”
Dawn at Futamigaura (c. 1832) by Kunisada.
Meoto Iwa, or the Married Couple Rocks, are two rocky stacks in the sea off Futami, Mie, Japan. They are joined by a shimenawa (a heavy rope of rice straw) and are considered sacred by worshippers at the neighboring Futami Okitama Shrine (Futami Okitama Jinja). According to Shinto, the rocks represent the union of the creator of kami, Izanagi and Izanami. The rocks, therefore, celebrate the union in marriage of man and woman. The rope, which weighs 40 kilograms, must be replaced several times a year in a special ceremony. The larger rock, said to be male, has a small torii at its peak.
At dawn during the summer, the sun appears to rise between the two rocks. Mount Fuji is visible in the distance. At low tide, the rocks are not separated by water. (more)
A Company of Pilgrims from Yedo Outside a Tea House on the Hills Behind the Beach of Futami Admiring the View (c. 1795) by Katsukawa Shunzan.
Women Worshiping the Rising Sun between the Twin Rocks at Ise (c. 1803–04) by Kitagawa Utamaro.
Futamigaura (c. 1825) by Shotei Hokuji.
View of Futamigaura from Famous Places in Ise (1847–52) by Hiroshige.
Continue reading “Sixteen views of Meoto Iwa”