Hiroshige I Utagawa, Okiku Breaks a Plate, Ogura One Hundred Poets

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Artist: Hiroshige I Utagawa (1797 - 1858)
Title: Minamoto no Shigeyuki (f. 960’s- c. 1000), scene: the maiden Sashinoto Okiku breaks a precious plate, and is later murdered by her master Aoyama Tessan
Series: A Comparison of the Ogura One Hundred Poets
Publisher: Ibaya Senzaburo
Date: 1847
Size: 23.8 x 35.5 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

'Ogura Hyakunin Isshu' is a classical Japanese anthology of one hundred Japanese waka poems by one hundred poets. The poems were often a source of inspiration for many woodblock print artists who borrowed elements, places and characters from those mentioned in the verses. Very often, their interpretation would show the creativity of the artist and their ability to take inspiration from classical literature and reinterpret it for a new audience.

More Information
Print Format Oban (Vertical)
Artist Name Hiroshige Ando
Title Minamoto no Shigeyuki
Subject Beauty & Female, Ghosts & Religion
Dimensions 23.8 x 35.5 cm
Condition Report Partly backed, trimmed, vertical crease, light soiling.

Hiroshige Ando

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’.