Evening Snow at Terajima Village

Kawase Hasui (川瀬巴水), 1883-1957

Format, Size: Ōban shin hanga, 260 x 391 mm
Series: 12 Scenes of Tōkyō (東京十二題)
Publisher: Watanabe Shōzaburō
Signature: Hasui, Taishō 9, Winter (大正九冬 巴水)
Illustrated: Brown 2003, #35

Once its own distinct village, Terajima was located in what is now the Western section of the Sumida district of Tokyo. A single figure is shown walking home as snow falls gently after nightfall on a quiet street. Lamps glow warmly in the windows of wooden single- and double-story homes typical of the capitol before the devastating Kanto Earthquake of 1923, after which the city was rebuilt in the Western vertical style. One could easily mistake the composition for a scene set a century earlier, were it not for a single string of telephone poles lining the narrow canal running through the village.

The impression is clearly pre-1923, as the post-earthquake design was greatly simplified. The soft yellow and peach over-printing on the windows shows an extremely high level of preservation, as these pigments are the first to fade in shin-hanga prints.