Hiroshige II Utagawa, Kumano, One Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces


Original Japanese woodblock print. 

Artist: Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826-1869)
Title: 60. Gathering Cliff Fungus at Kumano in Kii Province
Series: One Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces
Publisher: Uoya Eikichi
Date: c.1860
Dimensions: 24.8 x 37.2 cm

Hanging from a steep cliff covered in lush greenery, two men are filling small baskets with an edible lichen used as medicine in some East Asian countries. The print has a bright colour scheme and vibrant atmosphere. The abundant green spilling over the top of the cliff brings out the deep browns of the ravine, against which the yellow baskets that the men are suspended in stand out sharply. Blue waters lead the eye deeper into the scenery. The great sense of balance found in the colour scheme extends to the entire composition, which juxtaposes areas of dense line-work with areas of flat colour.

The artist dusted the darkest parts of the cliff with mica powder, lending the cliff surface additional depth and texture. The dark bokashi (gradation) at the bottom of the print implies a continuation of the scenery, drawing the viewer back into the print. The bright red cartouche containing the series and work title completes this work and adds to the lively feeling of the print.

Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826 - 1869)

In the genre of Japanese art, Hiroshige II Utagawa was a woodblock print artist best known for continuing the tradition of Hiroshige I Utagawa in producing landscape prints. Born in Edo (today’s Tokyo), many details of his formative years are unknown, except that he became a pupil of Hiroshige I under the name of Shigenobu. Hiroshige II produced a large number of commissioned work in the 1850s in the style of the elder Hiroshige, and often signed his work ‘Ichiryusai mon’ (student of Ichiryusai, another art name of Hiroshige).

He seems to have married Hiroshige’s daughter Otatsu and inherited Hiroshige’s name following his death in 1858. In 1865 he moved from Edo to Yokohama after dissolving his marriage and began using the name Kisai Rissho. During this decade he produced a number of collaborative print series, particularly with Kunisada, who had earlier worked with Hiroshige I.

His works have often been confounded with those of Hiroshige I, resembling them closely in style, subject, and even signature, particularly in series such as ‘One Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces’ (1859-61) that echo his master’s ‘Famous Views of the Sixty-odd Provinces’ (1853-56). ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’ (1856-58), also mainly completed by Hiroshige I, was finished by Hiroshige II following the former’s death. While the signature on this series of prints remain the same, the later designs show stylistic resemblance to those of Hiroshige II. The artist’s other notable series include ‘Eight Views of the Sumida River’ (1861) and ‘Thirty-six Views of the Eastern Capital’ (1861-62).

More Information
Print FormatOban (Vertical)
ArtistHiroshige II Utagawa (1826 - 1869)
Size 24.8 x 37.2 cm
SeriesOne Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces::Hiroshige II Utagawa
publisherUoya Eikichi:1855-1866