- Museum number
Object: Yamagoe (Over the Mountain)
Series: Uto hanga-kan (Print Volume of the Horn-billed Puffin)
Monochrome woodblock print. Scene from 'Yamagoe'; bird flying over mountains. Unnumbered. Signed and sealed.
- Production date
Height: 31 centimetres
Width: 42 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Smith 2002
The old term 'kan' was sometimes used by Munakata to describe a series which could be mounted up into a volume or even a handscroll. The English title of this series is often given as 'The Tale of the Cormorant'; though the bird in the drama on which it is based is a different species, Munakata has shown it as the more familiar (and dramatic-looking) cormorant. The prints are based on a 'No' play about a bird-hunter who catches puffin chicks by imitating the cry of the mother bird. He is eventually tormented in hell by the vengeful birds and seeks salvation by returning as a ghost. Munakata sets the story in his native Aomori, giving it the dignified poetry and slow pace characteristic of 'No' drama. The series consists of thirty prints, all of them of striking beauty and originality (they are reproduced complete in 'Munakata Shiko hanga zenshu', vol. 1, Tokyo, 1978-9, nos 90-123). It is not clear whether this and the other Munakata prints owned by Hacker (1994, 1217, 024, b; 1994, 1217, 024, a; 1995, 1004, 01; 1994, 1217, 025, b; 1994, 1217, 025, a) were given to him by the artist or by Onchi (the matter is discussed on Smith 2002, p. 29), but Sheppard's print (Smith 2002, no. 20) seems already strongly influenced by it. All the blocks but one were lost in the air-raid on Tokyo of May 1945 which destroyed Munakata's house in Yoyogi (Hayward Gallery, London, 'The Woodblock and the Artist: The Life and Work of Shiko Munakata', exh. cat., 1991, p. 61).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2002, 4 Sep-1 Dec, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japanese Prints during the Allied Occupation 1945-1952'
2010 Feb-Jun, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2013 Apr – Oct, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Uto hanga-kan
- Acquisition date
- Registration number