September 11, 2020 2 min read

Moon at Magome (1930)

Moon at Magome (1930) 

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Moon at Magome (1930) is part of Kawase Hasui’s Twenty Views of Tokyo series. The silhouettes of three imposing pine trees, which Magome was famous for, were wonderfully captured. In the background, the bright round moon, partially concealed by clouds, illuminates the countryside plantation. Somehow, we could almost hear the cries of the insects, and feel the cooling breeze on our skin, as we admire the details of the work. The small hut with dim light stimulates our imagination as we could imagine that the farmer, who has been hard at work all day long, could finally catch a break within the comfort of the hut.

The three pine trees depicted in Moon at Magome were well-known for their long history, as they were said to have existed over 500-600 years ago. Unfortunately, one of the pine trees was destroyed by the Muroto typhoon in 1934, and the other two no longer exist for unknown reasons today.

Kawase Hasui has once mentioned that ”it’s my greatest hope to capture and replicate the scenery that I have personally witnessed in my wooden print works, so that viewers can experience that exact moment.” As a man of word, he has faithfully replicated the views in his work which gives us an opportunity to travel back in time, right at the moment when the scenery has unfolded before him.  

Throughout Kawase Hasui’s life, he has experienced many major changes, plagued with natural disasters and war, throughout the three different eras – Meiji era, Taisho era and Showa era; this may explain why he was so determined to immortalize all the details in his works as he has personally witnessed how short-lived they are. The Kanto earthquake in 1923 has destroyed many of his painstakingly created works, and plunged him into depression. Fortunately, he picked himself up and started on the creation of new series, and it’s all thanks to him that we can catch a glimpse of how life was like before.

This amazing article written by Yeong!

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