Hiroshige I Utagawa, Tago Bay and Miho no Matsubara, Tokaido Road
Artist: Hiroshige Ando (1797-1858)
TItle: 19. Ejiri. Tago Bay and Miho no Matsubara.
Series: The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road
Publisher: Tsutaya Kichizo
Dimensions: 24.7 x 36.3 cm
Original Japanese woodblock print.
‘O sky-coursing breezes, close with your breath
the passageways through the clouds!
Let the angel maiden linger a while
here by the pinewood, to show us spring
touching Miho Cape’
Famed for its white sandy beaches and dramatic coastal pine trees, the eighteenth post station of Ejiri along the road connecting Kyoto to Edo was the site of a famous legend. According to the tale, a fisherman named Hakuryo chanced upon the sight of an angel on the shore of Miho no Matsubara. Entranced by the beauties of the cape, the angel was compelled to bath in its blue waters, removed her hagoromo (feather mantle) and placed it on a pine tree. Hakuryo seized the unattended robe for himself but was stopped by the pleas of the angel: without the feather mantle she could not return to heavens again. The fisherman used the mantle as a ransom in exchange for a dance. Her performance left the fisherman enraptured. He returned the mantle and the angel flew ‘over the mountain of Ashitaka, the high peak of Fuji… mingling with the mists of heaven; now lost to sight’.
|Print Format||Oban (Vertical)|
|Artist Name||Hiroshige Ando|
|Title||Ejiri. Tago Bay and Miho no Matsubara.|
|Dimensions||24.7 x 36.3 cm|
|Condition Report||Binding holes and pinholes along the left margin. Paper partially thinned next to the yellow cartouche.|
|Series||The Fifty-Three Station of the Tokaido|
Ando Hiroshige, who is best known for his landscape prints, is considered one of the six greatest Japanese printmakers in Ukiyo-e history and is said to have influenced Western impressionists, such as Van Gogh and Claude Monet, through his use of perspective. 1831 is the year when his first landscape series ‘Famous Places of The Eastern Capital’ (Toto Meisho) was published and the following year Hiroshige passed on his family responsibilities to his relatives to dedicate his entire energy to printmaking, changing his pen name further to reflect the change in his life. In the same year (1832), Hiroshige was appointed by Bakufu, the feudal government of Japan to accompany an official procession from Edo to Kyoto and then the residence of the emperor along the Tokaido road. The artist made many sketches during the journeys, resulting in the production of his most acclaimed series ‘Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road’ in the next two years. This series received a huge commercial success. It was rare for an artist (and regular people in general) to be able to travel and sketch landscapes from life rather than the imagination during the Edo period. The ten-year period of 1833-1843 is thought to have been Hiroshige’s most developed and innovative time as an artist. A lot of series that were produced during this time, such as ‘Sixty-nine Stations of Kisokaido Road’, ‘Eight Views of Omi’ and ‘Famous Places of Kyoto’, would lead to the peak of his career when he produced the ‘Famous Views of Sixty-odd Provinces’, ‘Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji’ and his last great series, ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo’.