N.1 shin-hanga woodblock print
Period: late twentieth century
Condition: very good
Size: 41,5 x 28 cm

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According to legend, a monk named Shodo (勝道) and his followers climbed Mount Nantai (男体山) in the year 766 to pray for national prosperity. However, they could not cross the fast flowing Daiya River (大谷川). Shodo prayed and a god named Jinja Daisho (深沙大将) appeared with two snakes twisted around his right arm. Jinja Daisho released the blue and red snakes and they transformed themselves into a rainbow-like bridge, which Shodo and his followers could use to cross the river.

The two snakes are still symbolized today by the “sacred bridge” Shinkyo (神橋), one of the most beautiful bridges in Japan, whose refinement contrasts with the wild nature of the gorge. Here we see it depicted in a famous woodblock print, of horizontal large oban (大判) format, by the artist Kawase Hasui (川瀬巴水) entitled “Snow at the Shinkyo Bridge in Nikko” (日光神橋乃雪).

The work, originally produced in 1930 by the publisher Sakai Kawaguchi (酒井川口), is presented here in a fine xylographic reprint of the late twentieth century in very good condition, made in all probability based on the woodblocks of the publisher Nakajima Shobisha (中嶋尚美社).