Hiroshige II Utagawa, Kakemono-e, A Couple of Cranes

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Artist: Hiroshige II Utagawa (1826-1869) sealed as Rissho (立祥)
Title: A Couple of Cranes (鶴)
Publisher: Yamashiroya Jimbei
Date: 1865
Size: (T)24.2 x 17.8 (B)24.2 x 18 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

In Japan as in other countries of East Asia, the crane is seen as a harbinger of good fortune. The fact that it has become a symbol of marital bliss, longevity and fidelity is the result of close observation, as cranes make a pair for life and reinforce their bonds with dances.

Hiroshige II Utagawa


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 FormatKakemono-e (Scroll)
ArtistHiroshige II Utagawa
SubjectAnimal & Birds, Flowers & Botanical
Dimensions(T)24.2 x 17.8 (B)24.2 x 18 cm
Condition ReportDiscoloured, light soiling on the top panel, pinholes and small hole on the bottom panel.