Kobayashi Kiyochika Fireworks at Ikenohata

Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1847-1915

Fireworks at Ikenohata
(Ikenohata hanabi)

the title along the bottom margin, Ikenohata hanabi, the date and publication information on the left-hand margin in three sections; top: on todoke Meiji juyonnen - gatsu - ka (registered, Meiji 14 [1881], -month - day) followed by the name of the publisher with his address, Fukuda Kumajiro located in Hasegawa-cho, and signed Gako Kobayashi Kiyochika with his address in Yonezawa-cho, ca. 1881

oban yoko-e 9 1/4 by 14 in., 23.5 by 35.7 cm

Shinobazu is a large natural pond in Ueno Park located in the Ikenohata district in a northeastern area of Tokyo. The park was established in 1873 on lands which had belonged to the Kan'ei-ji temple complex, much of which had been destroyed during the Battle of Ueno in 1868. The view is from behind a line of spectators in silhouette across the Shinobazu pond towards the Benten Shrine visible on the far shore, with flares descending from above. Two nimble children balance in a slender tree for an elevated view. A string of red lanterns crosses the composition, and on the opposite shore a line of lights is reflected in the water. In a city increasingly illuminated by gas lighting Kiyochika was particularly sensitive in his renderings of light sources in his nocturnes. These prints became known as his kosenga, ‘light-ray pictures,’ in response to his manner of capturing the light against darkness.

References:
Tokichi Sakai, Kiyochika, The Japan Association for the Preservation of Ukiyo-e, translation by N.S. Gankow, 1969, no. 70
Kiyochika, Goyo, Shinsui hanga ten: Meiji, Taisho no ukiyo-e shi, Seibu Hyakkaten, 1976, no. 9
Henry D. Smith II, Kiyo-Chika: Artist of Meiji Japan, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1988, p. 39, no. 31
Exhibition of Kobayashi Kiyochika, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, 1998, p. 40, no. 39
Hideki Kikkawa, Kobayashi Kiyochika: Studies in Light and Shadow of the Westernization of Japan, Seigensha Art Publishing, 2015, p. 52, no. 71
Kobayashi Kiyochika: A Retrospective, Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, 2016, p. 62, no. 84
Honolulu Museum of Art, object no. 13953
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 06.819
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession no. 2016.577
(inv. no. 10-4826)

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