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HIROSHIGE Japanese Woodblock 100 VIEWS OF EDO BRIDGE BAZAAR IN 1856

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HIROSHIGE Japanese Woodblock 100 VIEWS OF EDO BRIDGE BAZAAR IN 1856

HIROSHIGE

Ryogoku Bridge and the Great Riverbank

Number 59 from the series 100 Famous Views of Edo

Date: original 6/1856, this Showa era strike published from recut blocks
Size: 10.5" x 15.75"
Condition: VG, no flaws, uncirculated print
Impression: Fine, solid keylines, nice surface texture, tight registration
Color: Fine, deep saturated color and bleed through to verso
Documentation: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo Brazillier, 1986, print 59


HIROSHIGE HIMSELF DESCRIBED RYOGOKO BRIDGE AS "the liveliest place in the Eastern Capital, with side-shows, theaters, story tellers, and summer fireworks; day and night, the amusements never cease" in his Ehon Edo miyage, volume 1. By Hiroshige's day, the popular entertainment centers at either end of the bridge had been flourishing for well over a century, their position as the "liveliest place" in edo challenged only briefly by the Nakazu episode of 1775-89.

In this view, however, the artist offers us a peaceful, almost stylized, depiction of the place, with only a modest sense of its celebrated bustle. On the river is a workaday mixture of cargo and passenger boats. Below is a row of riverside tea stalls where one could relax, much as in a modern Tokyo coffee shop. We are deprived, however, of any sight of the theaters, archery galleries, and sideshows that filled the bridgehead plaza behind us and off to the left. But for an Edo audience intimately familiar with the place, the imagination could supply the bustle; the artist has simply supplied the form, in a balanced Z-shaped composition that emphasizes the role of the bridge as a place of passage rather than a node of pleasure.


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