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Hibiya and Soto-Sakurada From Yamashita-Cho, No. 3 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

In this view looking westward from a commoner neighborhood (Yamashita-chō) toward the daimyo, or military lord, district of Soto-Sakurada, Hiroshige represents children's games and activities associated with the New Year’s holiday. Projecting discreetly from either side—the one on the left from behind a close detail of the New Year's kadomatsu, or gate pine—are paddles for a game similar to badminton with the shuttlecock posed in midair. In the distance, kites dance whimsically against the upper margin.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 12th month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 1/4 x 8 5/8 in. (33.7 x 21.9 cm) Sheet: 14 3/8 x 9 3/16 in. (36.5 x 23.3 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.3
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1930, provenance not yet documented; by 1930, acquired by Anna Ferris of Summit, NJ; 1930, gift of Anna Ferris to the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This print is an example of the compositional wit that characterizes many of the "One Hundred Famous Views of Edo," involving a superimposition of an extreme close-up on a distant landscape. The spirit of New Year play is expressed by the kites in the sky. One is a yakko figure dancing in the upper margin; another is haplessly fallen on a rival's string. Two close-up battledores (hagoita) shown from either side, the one on the left has an even closer detail of a Kadomatsu pine (compare with pl. 2). In midair above the shuttlecock appears to be moving right to left. The location here is exactly reversed from the previous print. Here it is looking from a commoners' neighborhood (Yamashita-cho), now the area around Soto-Sakurada. The impressive facade that stretches along the far side of the moat is one of the most detailed depictions of a daimyo mansion found in any ukiyo-e print, the main residence of the Nabeshima clan of Saga; the elaborate design of the gate denotes a domain of high rank (350,000 koku in this case). This site is now occupied by Hibiya Park, and the one to the left, where the corner wall of the mansion of the lord of Shirakawa is just barely visible behind a pine branch, is now the Imperial Hotel. Overall, the print offers a pleasing contrast between the solemn majesty of the daimyo presence in Edo and the lightness and wit of the commoners' play.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Hibiya and Soto-Sakurada From Yamashita-Cho, No. 3 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 12th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Image: 13 1/4 x 8 5/8 in. (33.7 x 21.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.3 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.3_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.3_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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