Shin-Hanga and the Night Sky: Analyzing Celestial Bodies in the Works of Hasui Kawase




Dennis, Leeza

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Using astronomy to clarify art is an emerging field - one that is pioneered by Texas State’s own Celestial Sleuth, Dr. Donald Olson. However, analysis seems to have been focused on mostly western art, something this thesis hopes to remedy. From Japan comes the art form of shin-hanga, literally meaning “new prints”, of which the subjects range from landscapes, famous places, beautiful women, Kabuki actors, and birds and flowers. Our artist of focus is Hasui Kawase who was at the forefront of shin-hanga, and whose work continues to be celebrated not only in Japan, but all around the world. The intent of this thesis is to explore Hasui’s work Kiyomizu Temple, the history surrounding the work, and, most importantly, the two celestial bodies who make an appearance in the print’s night sky. Our Texas State University group used astronomical methods and calculations, a mixture of Japanese to English translation, historical research, topographical analysis, historical photographs, and meteorological reports to determine the precise date and time depicted in the piece.



Shin-hanga, astronomy, artwork, Kawase, Hasui, Japan, Honors College


Dennis, L. (2016). Shin-Hanga and the night sky: Analyzing celestial bodies in the works of Hasui Kawase (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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