Collections: Asian Art: Dawn Inside the Yoshiwara, No. 38 in One Hundred Views of Edo

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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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    Dawn Inside the Yoshiwara, No. 38 in One Hundred Views of Edo

    Daybreak had classic associations in Japanese literature with parting lovers, and the scene played out by the four figures at the center of this print is in keeping with that tradition. It is early dawn in the Yoshiwara, the popular licensed pleasure quarters for the Edo demimonde. To the left is a departing guest, his "cheek-cover hood" discreetly in place for the journey home. An attendant to the rear seems anxious to return to bed, while another one with a lantern stands in front of the guest, facing awkwardly away from him and toward the courtesan, who is clad in a bright-red overgarment and wears raised black clogs that mark her high rank.

    • Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando), Japanese, 1797-1858
    • Medium: Woodblock print
    • Place Made: Japan
    • Dates: 4th month of 1857
    • Period: Edo Period, Ansei Era
    • Dimensions: Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 5/16 in. (36.2 x 23.7 cm) Image: 13 1/4 x 9 in. (33.7 x 22.9 cm)  (show scale)
    • Markings: No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left margin was trimmed.
    • Signature: Hiroshige-ga
    • Collections:Asian Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 30.1478.38
    • Credit Line: Gift of Anna Ferris
    • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
    • Caption: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Dawn Inside the Yoshiwara, No. 38 in One Hundred Views of Edo, 4th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 5/16 in. (36.2 x 23.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.38
    • Image: overall, 30.1478.38_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
    • Catalogue Description: Dawn in the Yoshiwara licensed quarter, at Sumicho, the "corner district," which leads out into the central avenue of Nakanocho. On the left is Omon Gate, the one point of entry and departure for visitors to the Yoshiwara. In the center of the street, a lantern still glows and to the left there are four figures, one of whom is the guest, his "cheek-cover hood" (hokammuri-zukin) in place. An attendant to the rear with a lantern stands in front of the guest. The courtesan wears a bright red overgarment and raised black clogs that denote her high rank (she does not face the guest). The cherry trees depicted here were a peculiar Yoshiwara custom. Each year they were transplanted to a raised bed of soil along the main avenue in the Yoshiwara quarter for the duration of their bloom and then removed.
    • Record Completeness: Best (86%)
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    Recent Comments
    12:08 02/5/2011
    come, we are lovers

    come we are lovers
    who have taken our pleasures
    all through night
    we have taken what each can give
    and exchanged bodily fluids
    and we have lived
    a range of sensations
    and shown each other skills of the flesh

    and now it is dawn
    come though we are lovers
    we must depart
    for day signals toil and roles we must play
    till night comes again and we may express
    each to the other
    bring out from within
    what light suppresses all day
    and what the dark excites all night

    come then we as lovers
    it is dawn and it is time
    for each to be in one’s proper place
    till once again we meet
    in night’s desired transgressions

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