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Kintai Bridge in the Snow

from the series One Hundred Views of Famous Places in the Provinces

Date: originally published in 1861, this is a later 19th century edition but not the first edition
Size: oban approx. 9.75" x 14.375" including margins
Condition: VG, minor soils and toning; two seals on verso as shown
Impression: VG, solid key lines, nice surface texture, good registration
Color: VG, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso

The Kintai Bridge is a historical wooden arch bridge, in the city of Iwakuni, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. The bridge was built in 1673, spanning the Nishiki River in a series of five wooden arches. The bridge is located on the foot of Mt.Yokoyama, at the top of which lies Iwakuni Castle. Kikkou Park, which includes the bridge and castle, is a popular tourist destination in Japan It was declared a National Treasure in 1922.

After Iwakuni Castle was completed in 1608 by Kikkawa Hiroie, the first lord of Iwakuni Domain, a series of wooden bridges were built. However, most of them were destroyed by floods several times before the construction of the iconic Kintai Bridge. Afterwards, Kintai Bridge was built by the third lord, Kikkawa Hiroyoshi in 1673. The new stone piers replaced the old wooden ones. Though thought to be flood-proof; the bridge was destroyed by a flood the next year. As a result, the stone piers were redesigned for greater strength, and a special tax was created to maintain the bridge. This maintenance involved periodic rebuilding of the bridge: every 20 years for 3 spans in the middle, every 40 years for 2 spans connecting to the riverside. Consequently, the bridge remained undestroyed for 276 years, until washed away again by flooding from typhoon "Kijia" in 1950. It had been in a weakened state at the time, due to the fact that the Japanese had stopped maintaining the bridge during WWII, and that the year before the typhoon, a large amount of gravel was taken by the US military force from the river around the bridge to expand the US Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni, strengthening the flow of the river. In 1953, the bridge was reconstructed similarly to the original, using metal nails made from the same tatara iron as the Katana to increase its durability. Between 2001 and 2004, all five bridge girders were restored for the first time in 50 years.

Born Chinpei Suzuki, Hiroshige II was a Ukiyo-e print maker who worked under the name Shigenobu until the death of Ando Hiroshige in 1858. Upon the death of the master, who took him in as both a pupil and adopted son, he married Hiroshige's daughter, Otatsu, and took the name Hiroshige II. It is generally thought that he completed works in progress from his master's studio, with fine designs being published through the early 1860's. By 1865, his marriage ended in divorce, and he retired to Yokohama, reverting to the name of Shigenobu, where he painted pictures on tea boxes and lanterns, and died in poverty in 1869.

Otatsu, remarried to another pupil of her father, Shigemasa. Shigemasa from then on called himself Hiroshige III.

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