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Mannen Bridge, Fukagawa (Fukagawa Mannenbashi), No. 56 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Catalogue Description:
In the foreground of this complex, closely framed scene is a baby turtle dangling from its vendor's leash and beyond is a section of the railing of Mannen Bridge, which lay at the entrance to the Onagi Canal (see prints 70 and 97 of this series), running though the Fukugawa district, where turtles were bred for sale as pets. It was a common custom in Edo for breeders of turtles to offer their wares near well traveled bridges for release into the rivers or canals below, a commercialized version of a Buddhist ritual, a "releasing of life" ceremony. The turtle was a conventional symbol of longevity in Chinese and Japanese lore; the title of the bridge, "10,000 years" (Mannen), also refers to longevity.


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