Kuniteru II

Utagawa Kuniteru II

1830-1874

The Seaside Garden of the Tsukiji Hotel in the Eastern Capital [Plan of Hotel at Yedo, T'skege]
(Toto Tsukiji Hoterukan kaigan teizen no zu)

titled in kanji in the upper right, Toto Tsukiji Hoterukan kaigan teizen no zu, and in English at the upper left, PLAN of HOTEL at YEDO, T'Skege, 1868, signed Oju (by special request) Ichiyosai Kuniteru hitsu, with publisher's seal Arai (Arai Sannosuke) beside a larger seal Sahaisho (possibly the name of Arai Sannosuke's firm), and red cartouche identifying Kaigundenshujo (Naval Training Center), 1868

oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 30 in., 37.3 by 76.2 cm

The Tsukiji Hotel, Japan's first Western-style hotel, opened in the autumn of 1868. It was designed by a Japanese master carpenter-cum-architect, Shimizu Kisuke II, who had trained with Western builders in Yokohama. Although the outward symmetrical design appeared foreign with belltower adorned with a weathervane, the construction was essentially Japanese with a timber frame, dark tiled outer walls and a tiled roof. Initially it was expected that the main entrance would be from the waterfront to receive passengers disembarking from the American-operated steamboat, City of Edo, that carried passengers between Tokyo and Yokohama, but a law restricting foreigners from direct entry by sea forced a reconfiguration of the entrance to the street side. The text to the right of the tower in the center sheet ennumerates the large building's specifications: facade 12 ken (21.8 meters); depth 40 ken (~72.8 meters); and height 9 jo, 4 shaku (~28.5 meters), and was said to house approximately 80-100 rooms. While it opened to much fanfare and publicity, inspiring numerous woodblock prints of the subject, the hotel was not particularly popular with the foreign residents and suffered the dual ignominy of first closing in 1871, and then burning to the ground the following year when a conflagration consumed a portion of Tokyo in the Ginza fire of 1872.

References:
Julia Meech-Pekarik, The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization, 1986, pp. 79-80 (on the Tsukiji Hotel)
Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan, 1990, p. 180, no. 77
Gerhard Dambmann, Japan het Westen ontdekte: Een geschiedenis in houtsneden, 1988, pp. 54-55, no. 15
(inv. no. 10-5303)

price: $2,400

kikumon

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site last updated
November 30, 2020

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475