A wooden board (220 x 160 mm.), carved on one side with one text panel above and below an illustration of an aristocrat with his entourage on a "stroll" through the forest. Caption title: "Suzume no matsubara" [in trans.: "Sparrow in a Pine Grove"]
by JAPANESE WOODBLOCK BOARD
Japan: late Edo. A rare survival of a woodblock employed in the printing of a Japanese illustrated travel book from the late Edo period. The scene takes place in a famous pine forest in Hyogo prefecture (west of Kyoto), along Sumiyoshido, a pilgrimage route. In this forest, every three years, two groups of sparrows, one local, the other from a neighboring prefecture, would engage in a large aerial battle, a spectacle which attracted many tourists. The aristocrat (furthest to the right), wearing a hat characteristic of the nobility (eboshi), and highly decorated day-time attire (sokutai), is in the forest. His entourage, behind him, are dressed according to their rank. The man with long hair kneeling is very likely a young samurai sworn to protect the nobleman. The two men standing have especially detailed facial features. Fine condition. (Inventory #: 6329)
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