Collections: Asian Art: Aoi Slope, Outside Toranomon Gate, No. 113 from One Hundred Famous 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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    30.1478.113_PS1.jpg 30.1478.113.jpg

    Aoi Slope, Outside Toranomon Gate, No. 113 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

    Why are two half-naked figures out on such a chilly night? It was customary for artisan apprentices to engage in kan-mairi, wintry nighttime visits to temples and shrines where they would bathe in icy water to temper their bodies and offer prayers to the gods for the refinement of their skills. These two apprentices are returning from a visit to Konpira Shrine, which lay directly behind and to the right. Like the bundled figures on Aoi Slope to the left, they carry lanterns; the lantern of the shorter apprentice bears the name of the shrine god, Konpira Daigongen. The other apprentice also holds a small bell, which he rings as they hurry bravely through the cold.

    • Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando), Japanese, 1797-1858
    • Medium: Woodblock print
    • Place Made: Japan
    • Dates: 11th month of 1857
    • Period: Edo Period, Ansei Era
    • Dimensions: Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm) Image: 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (34 x 22.2 cm)  (show scale)
    • Markings: Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    • Signature: Hiroshige-ga
    • Collections:Asian Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 30.1478.113
    • Credit Line: Gift of Anna Ferris
    • Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
    • Caption: Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Aoi Slope, Outside Toranomon Gate, No. 113 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 11th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.113
    • Image: overall, 30.1478.113_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
    • Catalogue Description: To the left in this view is the Aoi Slope of the title, along which some people, obviously chilled by the cold air, are walking with the aid of their lanterns. The water pouring over the spillway to the right is the overflow from Tameike Pond, which fell into the Outer Moat and passed by the Toranomon Gate (not seen here). The two large barren trees to the left are hackberry trees from which Enoki Slope (further to the left) took its name. At right is Sanno Hill and the gray temple buildings of Sanno Shrine. In the foreground, the two almost naked figures are artisan apprentices; it was their custom at the coldest time of the year to visit temples and shrines at night and bathe in the icy water and offer prayers to the gods for the refinement of their skills. The younger apprentice carries a lantern which bears the name of the shrine god, Konpira Daigongen, while the older one is ringing a small bell. Behind the stray dogs are the portable stalls of noodle vendors, hung with red lanterns. Tameike Pond was drained and leveled in the mid-1880's and Aoi Slope now survives as a street in front of Toranomon Hospital.
    • Record Completeness: Best (88%)
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    • ninakuriloff (5)
      • landscape
      • trees
      • figures
      • One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
      • Utagawa Hiroshige
    • tld (7)
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      • apprentice
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      • kan-mairi
      • Konpira Daigongen
    • not_here (12)
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      • hiroshige
    Recent Comments
    09:46 07/11/2011
    KAN-MAIRI

    Ow…wwww…owww…
    wooo...ooo…oooo…
    O it’s cold, so darned cold
    this winter night
    witnessed by the crescent and distant stars
    but still I jumped into the icy water:
    did you see? – I was the first –
    I did not hesitate like the others
    gathered there
    and I said my prayers as I jumped in,
    I said:
    “O,
    Konpira Daigongen -
    foremost of the 12 Yakushi Generals -
    will protect me…!”
    But now as we hurry back
    O….oww…owww….
    Wooo..ooo…oooo…
    O it’s cold, so darned cold
    this winter night

    well hurry
    you silly boy –
    as it’s so cold
    if you talk so much and delay
    you’ll turn stone and cold like
    your Konpira Daigongen!
    So just listen to the peals of my bell
    and let’s hurry along, quiet
    back to our master’s lodge
    before we turn cold and like stone
    and we’ll look quite a sight in the morning
    naked, still and in the street
    just in our loincloth…
    move it, boy; quit talking, keep moving…



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