Utagawa Hiroshige, Bamboo Bank, Kyobashi

Utagawa Hiroshige, 1797-1858

One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Bamboo Bank, Kyobashi
(Meisho Edo hyakkei: Kyobashi, Take-gashi)

with publisher's seal at lower left, Shitaya, Uo-Ei (Sakanaya Eikichi), censor's seal Aratame, and date seal mi-ju-ni (year of the snake [1857], 12th month)

oban tate-e 14 3/4 by 10 1/8 in., 37.6 by 25.7 cm

A moonlit view of the first bridge after Nihonbashi on the Tokaido Road. At left, on the northeastern shore of the Kyobashi River, are the towering stockpiles of bamboo belonging to the bamboo dealers of Sumi-cho. Hiroshige's own home was only a few blocks further beyond the yards. Crossing the bridge are a group of pilgrims towards the right returning from Mount Oyama carrying souvenir boten. Just beyond the procession a figure carries a large red lantern inscribed Hori-Take. Although the literal meaning 'bamboo cutter' is relevant to the location, this is very likely a hidden signature of Yokogawa Horitake, a leading carver who was responsible for several Hiroshige prints from the 1850s, as well as the carver of Hiroshige memorial portrait designed by Utagawa Kunisada.

This composition compares very closely with James McNeill Whistler's famous painting, Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Old Battersea Bridge, 1872 in the collection of The Tate Gallery in London; as well as his two panel screen, Blue and Silver: Screen, with Old Battersea Bridge, 1871-72, in the collection of The Hunterian, University of Glasgow.

Reference:
Henry D. Smith & Amy G. Poster, Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1986, no. 76

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