Utagawa Hiroshige, Snow at Kiso in Shinano Province

Utagawa Hiroshige II, 1829-1869

One Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces: Snow at Kiso in Shinano Province
(Shokoku meisho hyakkei: Shinshu Kiso no yuki)

an excellent impression with a dusting of mica; signed Hiroshige ga, publisher's seal Uoei(Sakanaya Eikichi), censor and date seal, hitsuji ju aratame (year of the goat [1859], 10th month, examined)

oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 9 3/4 in., 36.5 by 24.8 cm

Although the title indicates the publisher intended to produce 100 meisho-e (pictures of famous views) in this series, only eight-five were completed between 1859 and 1861- a dynamic time in Japan at the beginning of the Meiji period (1868-1912) when the entire ukiyo-e industry was just beginning to come to grips with the rapidly changing tastes of a society suddenly open to the West. This night-time view of the famous Kiso Snow gorge references the right-hand panel a triptych of the same subject by Hiroshige I (1797-1858). In this depiction, Hiroshige II tightens the composition to create a dramatic zigzag pattern of the dark night sky and deep blue water cutting through the near-vertical icy cliffs.

Reference:
Mathew Welch & Yuiko Kimura-Tilford, Worldly Pleasures, Earthly Delights: Japanese Prints from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2011, p. 335, no. 292

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