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Totems from the series Korean Life

Hiyoshi Mamoru (1885-?)

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Totems from the series Korean Life

by Hiyoshi Mamoru, c. 1950s

Nōga taikan, Semimaru
IHL Cat. #1360

About This Print

One of at least six prints in a series depicting various aspects of Korean life.  While published in the 1950s, the scenes are reminiscent of the time of the artist's residency in Korea from 1909 through the end of its colonization by Japan in 1945.   Five wood totems, jangseung in Korean, which serve as village guardians and are traditionally placed at the edges of villages to mark village boundaries, stand along the edge of a road as children play and villagers pass by.

Korean Totems
Jangseungs are usually adorned with inscriptions describing the personae of the carved figures along the front of the poles. "Male" jangseungs usually bear inscriptions in Hangul or Hanja reading "Great General of All Under Heaven," or Cheonha-daejanggun (Hangul: 천하대장군, Hanja: 天下大將軍) and are decorated with headpieces resembling those worn by Korean aristocrats or scholars. "Female" jangseungs, on the other hand, wear less elaborate headpieces and usually bear inscriptions reading "Female General of the Underworld," or Jiha-yeojanggun (Hangul: 지하여장군, Hanja: 地下女將軍) or "Great General of the Underworld," or Jiha-daejanggun (Hangul: 지하대장군, Hanja: 地下大將軍).1

 Korean villagers pray to the jangseung or village guardians Dec 1 1919
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1360
 Title/Description Totems (note: a descriptive title as print itself is untitled)
 Series Korean Life 韓国の生活 (series title also seen as 朝鮮風俗 "Korean Customs")
 Series title in Korean is 조선 풍속.
 Hiyoshi Mamoru (1885-?)
 M. Hiyoshi
 Seal Mamoru 守 in seal script
 Date original edition printed in 1952 according to the Korean National Folk Museum
 Edition later edition; first editions in this series are marked as such and dated to 1951-1952
Kyoto Hangain 版元 京都版画院 [Marks: pub. ref. 284; seal 25-485]
彫菊田 hori Kikuta
摺軒下 suri Nokishita?
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - light overall toning; printers mark lower left margin; two tape remnants from previous mounting top margin verso
 Genre shin hanga
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 11 3/8 x 16 in. (28.9 x 40.6 cm)
 H x W Image 9 3/8 x 14 1/4 in. (23.8 x 36.2 cm)
 Collections This Print National Folk Museum of Korea Collection No. 민속051019
 Reference Literature 
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