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Shitaya Hirokoji, No. 13 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

This print depicts a fascinating array of customs. In the immediate foreground are three samurai, identifiable by their double swords but unusual for their Western pants, a recent import popular among younger samurai. The identical parasols, uneven procession, and diverse dress of the women ahead mark them as a group of merchant-class tourists. They are on their way to view the cherry blossoms hinted at by the rosy-tinged cloud in the distance.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 9th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 3/8 x 8 5/8 in. (34 x 21.9 cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga; publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.13
    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 Busy street looking down a long row of shops with a detailed depiction of one particular store, in this case, the silk store "Ito Matsuzakaya" and two delivery men bearing large packs with the shop crest. The site today is still occupied by Matsuzakaya, which like Mitsukoshi (pl. 8) has become one of Tokyo's major department stores. The subway stop in front is now called Ueno Hirokoji, and the tradition of a broad pedestrian space continues in contemporary Tokyo. In the immediate foreground there is a group of three samurai, identified by their two swords but unusual in the Western pants they wear; these were a recent import that spread rapidly among younger samurai for their distinctive style and ease of movement. (This series was begun three years after Admiral Perry "opened" Japan.) A large group of women carrying red parasols are probably students at some school of chanting or dancing, on their way to view the cherry blossoms at Kan'eiji, followed by a group of men carrying the appropriate refreshments. The small building just to the right of the head of the procession is a barbershop, where class status was marked above all by hair style. A bank of stylized clouds, comparable to the clouds in the preceding print, hangs over the forested mass of the temple beyond.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Shitaya Hirokoji, No. 13 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 9th month of 1856. Woodblock print, Image: 13 3/8 x 8 5/8 in. (34 x 21.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.13 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.13_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.13_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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