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HIROSHIGE - Japanese Woodblock Print PLUM ESTATE AT KAMEIDO 1857


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HIROSHIGE - Japanese Woodblock Print PLUM ESTATE AT KAMEIDO 1857


Plum Estate, Kameido

Number 30 from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Date: originally published 11/1857, this print at auction is a Showa era strike printed from recarved wood blocks and published by Watanabe with publishers round 7mm seal at lower right corner
Size: oban, approx. 10.5" x 15.75"
Condition: Fine, no flaws, uncirculated print, never framed
Impression: Fine, solid key lines, nice surface texture, tight registration, printed from recarved wood blocks
Color: Fine, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso
Documentation: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo Brazillier, 1986, print 30
IN ONE OF THE MOST STUNNING COMPOSITIONS OF THE ENTIRE SERIES, Hiroshige brings us face to face with the "Sleeping Dragon Plum" Garyubai, the most famous tree in Edo -- a city that revered trees. We are so close that the air is thick with the powerful fragrance that was one of its several distinctions, having lured the shogun Yoshimune as he passed nearby in the early eighteenth century and thereby assured its fame. Also celebrated was the purity of its double blossoms, "so white when full in bloom as to drive off the darkness," according to one old Edo guidebook.

By far the most unusual feature of the Garyubai, however, was its peculiar manner of growth, by which certain branches spreading out from the original trunk would droop low to the ground, enter the soil, and re-emerge at a distance to create new trunks. In this manner, the tree was constantly rejuvenated and by Hiroshige's time had spread over an area some 50 feet square. The image of the "sleeping dragon" came from the way in which the reproducing branches looped across the ground.

This print was one of two in the series that so caught the attention of Vincent van Gogh that he executed a careful copy in oils in 1887.


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