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Minowa, Kanasugi, Mikawashima, No. 102 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Catalogue Description:
The title of this print lists the names of three different villages in an area northwest of the Yoshiwara and is most likely looking from Minowa and Kanasugi toward Mikawashima. Mikawashima is the site of the shogun's crane hunt in the winter, when cranes migrate to Japan. The shogun, in the company of seventy or eighty others, would release the first hawk; a crane was then captured and lashed to bamboo poles and taken to Kyoto to be presented to the emperor. Cranes were considered extremely auspicious birds, and yet they were hunted and eaten, at least on this special occasion. The crane shown here is the Japanese crane, called "tancho," or "red-crest" after the bald red spot on its head. Today only a few hundred of these protected birds survive in eastern Hokkaido. The tancho has pure white feathers, depicted by a blind-printed pattern on the backs of the birds; the blackening near the shoulders of the upper bird might be from the effects of the atmosphere on white lead pigment.


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