One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Fireworks at Ryogoku
(Meisho Edo hyakkei: Ryogoku, hanabi)
signed Hiroshige ga, publisher's seal on lower left, Uo-Ei (Sakanaya Eikichi), and date seal uma-hachi (year of the horse, 8th month), 1858
oban tate-e 14 by 9 5/8 in., 35.7 by 24.4 cm
During the hot and humid summer months in Japan a popular respite from the heat were evening entertainments that were available along rivers and waterways. In Kyoto restaurants would offer kawayuka (riverside dining) on temporary platforms built out over the shallow Kamo River. In Edo, pleasure boats provided an alternate venue for parties normally hosted at restaurants and teahouses. Beginning in 1731 or 1733, the government began to sponsor an annual presentation of fireworks on the Sumida River at the Ryogoku (Ohashi) Bridge. This print shows numerous pleasure boats who have pulled up to allow their customers to enjoy the display.
Henry D. Smith II, Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1986, pl. 98 Mathew Welch & Yuiko Kimura-Tilford, Worldly Pleasures, Earthly Delights: Japanese Prints from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2011, p. 312, no. 269
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