About Meiji Era Sake Breweries

The series of paintings introduced here was illustrated by Ukiyo-e artist Toyohara Kunichika in 1887, as a dedication to Naritasen Shinshoji Temple. It is said that Toyohara Kunichika stayed at the Suzukiya (currently Suzuki Sake Brewery in Iwatsuki City, Saitama Prefecture), the brewery of the sake ‘Manryo’, and drew his paintings while observing the brewing process up close. These hand-drawn paintings of sake brewing in the early Meiji era were crafted in detail on silk, making them very valuable historical artifacts. These days, many of these processes have been mechanized, so the wisdom and difficulty involved in brewing sake in that era when everything was done by hand is clearly portrayed.

The image for this exhibition is photographed panels currently exhibited at the Suzuki Sake Brewery Museum, and the panels themselves are enlarged photographs of dedicated paintings preserved at Naritasen Shinshoji Temple about 30 years ago. Some of the 16 paintings are very fragile, so we have selected 10 of the more well-preserved paintings for display. We recommend to those who wish to see all 16 paintings to visit the Suzuki Sake Brewery Museum.

The individual art descriptions are based on the descriptions written by Mr. Furuichi Akinori, exhibited alongside the panels at the Suzuki Sake Brewery Museum.

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Ukiyo-e and Japanese Sake Articles




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