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HIROSHIGE Japanese Woodblock Print JUNISO SHRINE 1856


Availability: 1 available

HIROSHIGE Japanese Woodblock Print JUNISO SHRINE 1856


Kumano Junisha Shrine, Tsunohasu,

Popularly known as "Juniso"

Number 50 from the series 100 Famous Views of Edo

Date: originally published 7/1855, this is a 20th century edition
Size: oban, approx. 10.5" x 15" overall
Condition: Fine, no flaws, uncirculated print, never framed
Impression: Fine, solid key lines, 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 50
IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE that this idyllic suburban site today lies in the shadows of the New City Center of metropolitan Tokyo, the cluster of glittering skyscrapers west of Shinjuku Station. The Kumano Shrine, whose main sanctuary we see at the very bottom, survives today in the northwest corner of Shinjuku Central Park, just west of the Century-Hyatt Hotel. The pond has been filled in for many years, but one may see the depression it left from the New City Hotel.
     In Hiroshige's day, this place stood just outside the settled limits of Edo along the Koshu Highway, a fifteen minute walk west from Naito Shinjuku. Here a Kumano shrine -- known as the "Twelve Shrines" (Junisha, later corrupted to the "Juniso" of the title) after the multiple system of divinities in the main Kumano shrine on the Kii Peninsula -- had been dedicated in the early fifteenth century by an expatriate from Kii. In the late Edo period, the shrine flourished in a familiar pattern, combining the appeals of powerful deities and a scenic site. The original site was improved by damming up a large pond and creating a waterfall (out of view below) at the same time.
     Hiroshige has shown us the broad expanse of the pond, fringed with veranda-like tea stalls and, to the lower left, a two-story restaurant. Trees (one a curiously barren willow) ring the pond, and in the distance, beyond space laced with yellow bands of mist, looms what is probably, given the location and the jagged profile, intended to represent the outline of trees on the higher ground to the southwest. In the Meiji period, the Juniso pond survived and thrived as a center of entertainment and summer retreat, precisely as it had been in Hiroshige's time.
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