Collections: Asian Art: The Kawaguchi Ferry and Zenkoji Temple, No. 20 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

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The shapely forms of this statuette are characteristic of the ideal feminine body type of the Ptolemaic Period. During Greek rule, full thig...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.


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30.1478.20_IMLS_SL2.jpg 30.1478.20_PS1.jpg

The Kawaguchi Ferry and Zenkoji Temple, No. 20 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

This scene portrays the northernmost limit of Edo depicted in the series: the Kawaguchi Ferry across the Sumida River, known as the Arakawa River in its upper reaches. The ferry is barely visible to the lower right, with the ferryman sculling a group of passengers to an unseen landing on the far side. Rafts of lumber are being poled upstream, contrary to the normal transport pattern for lumber. Hiroshige was clearly more concerned with the subtle interplay of varied diagonal shapes than with economic geography.

  • Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando), Japanese, 1797-1858
  • Medium: Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • Dates: 2nd month of 1857
  • Period: Edo Period, Ansei Era
  • Dimensions: Image: 13 3/8 x 9 in. (34 x 22.9 cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm)  (show scale)
  • Markings: No publisher's date or censor's seal visible, probably lost when left edge was trimmed.
  • Signature: Hiroshige-ga
  • Collections:Asian Art
  • Museum Location: This item is not on view
  • Accession Number: 30.1478.20
  • Credit Line: Gift of Anna Ferris
  • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
  • Caption: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). The Kawaguchi Ferry and Zenkoji Temple, No. 20 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 2nd month of 1857. Woodblock print, Image: 13 3/8 x 9 in. (34 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.20
  • Image: overall, 30.1478.20_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
  • Catalogue Description: Scene of the Kawaguchi Ferry across the Arakawa River and Zenkoji Temple on the other side, half hidden by the title cartouche to the upper right. This temple was renowned for the practice of the periodic unveiling of its main image of Amida, which tended to rotate every seventeenth year, in the case of Kawaguchi's Zenkoji, and had been approved to start early in the Third Month of 1858 and was to last for sixty days. In those two months the normally quiet temple seen here would have been transformed into a booming entertainment village, with sideshows, acrobats and legal gambling. Scene shows rafts of lumber being poled upstream (contrary to the normal transport of lumber).
  • Record Completeness: Best (88%)
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Recent Comments
10:17 02/7/2012
here we are
travellers across
the river of life and time
across samsara, of cycles
we are such beings
such energy bundles
in an almost endless crossing
so remember than the name of Amida
remember his face of wisdom
his hand of radiance

there is no darkness
in our journey
that is not lit by wisdom
there is no fear
in our hearts
that is not subdued by compassion

so remember then Amida
the radiant one in the Zenkoji temple
repeat the name of Amida
as you cross the ocean of samsara
for that name is radiance
that is wisdom, that is the means -
that name Amida, Amida, Amida
Amitabha of Zenkoji temple

By Raj Arumugam

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