Artist: Hiroshige I Ando (1797-1858)
Title: 1. Nihon Bridge, Clear Skies after Snow
Series: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Publisher: Uoya Eikichi
Dimensions: 22.9 x 34.2 cm
Such a sight of Nihonbashi in the Edo period (1603-1868) would have been extraordinarily vibrant and full of life. Understandably, Hiroshige begins his tour of Edo here: the central place of trade and commerce which marked the starting point for the Tokaido road. Fisherman can be seen selling tuna with stalls along the river, whilst traders arrive on boats with thatched roofs to protect their cargo. Hiroshige renders this clear day after snowfall with a pervasive bright white. Entirely illuminated by the morning sunshine, the large storehouses along the left bank stand in bold contrast to the rich Prussian blue of the Nihonbashi River. Horizontally demarcating the scene is the renowned bridge itself, exceeding its actual recorded length but emanating with the bustle and energy it was known for. Mount Fuji occupies the highest position in the print, which along with the distant sight of Edo Castle on the right-hand side, form the diarchy essential to the legitimacy of the newly established capital and rightful reign of the Tokugawa shogunate.