Blossoms on the Tama River Embankment, No. 42 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
The "Tama River," actually the Tama River Aqueduct, carried much of the drinking water for the city of Edo along a thirty-mile course. Hiroshige's springtime view vividly conveys a freshness and vitality befitting this lifeline. The cherry trees were planted along much of the embankment in the 1730s. The placement was not only aesthetic but also practical: the trees' roots strengthened the banks, and their petals and leaves were thought to possess antitoxic powers that kept the water pure.
- Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando), Japanese, 1797-1858
- Medium: Woodblock print
- Place Made: Japan
- Dates: 2nd month of 1856
- Period: Edo Period, Ansei Era
- Dimensions: 14 5/16 x 9 5/16in. (36.4 x 23.7cm) Image: 14 5/16 x 9 5/16 in. (36.4 x 23.7 cm) Sheet: 12 15/16 x 8 3/4 in. (32.9 x 22.2 cm) (show scale)
- Markings: No publisher's seal visible, probably lsot when the left margin was trimmed.
- Signature: Hiroshige-ga
- Collections:Asian Art
- Museum Location: This item is not on view
- Accession Number: 30.1478.42
- Credit Line: Gift of Anna Ferris
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Blossoms on the Tama River Embankment, No. 42 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 2nd month of 1856. Woodblock print, 14 5/16 x 9 5/16in. (36.4 x 23.7cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.42
- Catalogue Description: The Tama River Aqueduct shown here was constructed in 1653-54. It carried drinking water for the city of Edo along a 30-mile course, and continued to carry much of the water supply for the city of Tokyo until the 1960's. Then the old Edo wooden system was replaced with modern equipment and this part of the canal, no longer needed, was paved over. The cherry trees along the embankment were planted in the 1730's and were not only a source of beauty, but helped to keep the water pure through the allegedly antitoxic powers of the leaves and petals. To the left is the entrance to one of the smaller samurai estates. In the Edo period, most of this park was the estate of the Naito clan, lords of Takata; subsequently, it served as an agricultural college, a private imperial garden and since 1949 as a public park. The two-story buildings mark the Naito Shinjuku settlement, where one can see a customer and thee "serving girls" as they were known, in the rear quarters of a brothel to the right of the canal.
- Record Completeness: Best (86%)