Kobayashi Kiyochika Fukugawa, Kiba

Kobayashi Kiyochika, 1847-1915

One Hundred Views of Musashi: Fukugawa, Kiba
(Musashi hyakkei no uchi: Fukugawa, Kiba)

signed discreetly in the snow running from left to right, Kobayashi Kiyochika, dated along left margin, on todoke Meiji jushichinen, juichi gatsu, to ka (registered Meiji 17 [1884], 11th month, 10th day), followed by publisher information, Shuppan nin Kobayashi Tetsujiro tori san choume jusan banchi (publishers Kobayashi Tetsujiro, 13th district), and artist, Gako Kobayashi Kiyochika gensuke chou hachi banchi (designer Kobayashi Kiyochika, 18th district), and carver's rectangular cartouche below, Hori Gin, ca. 1884

oban tate-e 14 by 9 1/8 in., 35.7 by 23.1 cm

In 1884, Kiyochika began a new vertical landscape series, inspired by the iconic One Hundred Views of Edo by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) which he titled One Hundred Views of Musashi, in reference to the Musashi Plain, once located to the north of Edo, now swallowed up as part of the northern reaches of Tokyo. Kiyochika's series revisits the concept of familiar meisho (famous views) as well as depicting new scenery of Meiji Japan. With each location he plays with the theme, alluding to Hiroshige's designs while presenting an alternate or updated perspective.

The subject is that of Kiba (lit. 'wood place') located in the Fukugawa district, east of the Sumida River. After a devastating fire in 1641 in which the centrally located lumber yards were destroyed, the yards were rebuilt on the other side of the river. The lumber was stored in ponds and transported via a system of interconnected ponds. Hiroshige depicts a canal zig-zaging through the lumber yard blanketed with snow, with a yellow umbrella decorated with the kanji 'Ei' (for the publisher Uoei) rising into the composition from the foreground. Kiyochika's version picks up the iconic umbrella and repositions it to the upper left, now a large orb floating into the frame, likewise decorated with the kanji for his publisher, 'I', and 'Marutetsu' (Kobayashi Tetsujiro, 1848-1893).

Henry D. Smith III, Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1986, no. 106 (on Kiba)
(inv. no. 10-2449)


Hiroshige, Kiba Timber Yard, Fukagawa, 1856


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site last updated
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