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Cotton-Goods Lane, Odenma-cho, No. 7 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

The quietness of the street tells us it is late night or early morning. We are in the heart of the city in the sector popularly known as Momendana ("cotton shops"). Scholars have surmised that the two geisha are returning home after an evening out, their slight disarray and sense of tipsiness enhanced by the concern in the attendant's arched eyebrow. Nearby, behind the lifted cloth curtain, two merchants sit among piles of cotton fabric, closing up their business.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 4th month of 1858
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 3/8 x 9 in. (34 x 22.9 cm) Sheet: 14 1/8 x 9 1/4 in. (35.9 x 23.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.7
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Cotton-Goods Lane, Odenma-cho, No. 7 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 4th month of 1858. Woodblock print, Image: 13 3/8 x 9 in. (34 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.7
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.7_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION It is evening and two Geisha and their young attendant (a Kabura or Kamuro) walk along the long stretch of cotton cloth and dry goods shops in Odenma-cho, popularly known as "Momendana" ("cotton shops"), in the heart of the city. Today it still is the cloth and cotton district of Tokyo. Beyond the shop curtain (Noren) of the Tamuraya store (center right) two merchants sit among piles of cotton fabric, probably tallying up the day's profits. The two Geisha in matched ensemble, returning from an evening providing samisen entertainment, perhaps at a wealthy wholesaler's home nearby. There is a disarray in their dress possibly hinting of the drink they may have shared with their customers. The attendant or servant who follows just behind has an arched eyebrow, perhaps conveying a sense of concern over her mistresses' condition. The architecture is typical is Odenma-cho and unusual for wealthy Edo merchants, since it enclosed a row of several different shops under a single roof - a house form normally reserved for backstreet tenements. In this print, the alternating names and crests identify three separate establishments: the Tabataya to the right, Masuya in the center and Shimaya in the distance. The three enclosures on the roof of the building are barrels to collect rain water to be used in case of fire.
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