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The Kawaguchi Ferry and Zenkoji Temple, No. 20 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

This scene portrays the northernmost limit of Edo depicted in the series: the Kawaguchi Ferry across the Sumida River, known as the Arakawa River in its upper reaches. The ferry is barely visible to the lower right, with the ferryman sculling a group of passengers to an unseen landing on the far side. Rafts of lumber are being poled upstream, contrary to the normal transport pattern for lumber. Hiroshige was clearly more concerned with the subtle interplay of varied diagonal shapes than with economic geography.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 2nd month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 3/8 x 9 in. (34 x 22.9 cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS No publisher's date or censor's seal visible, probably lost when left edge was trimmed.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.20
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). The Kawaguchi Ferry and Zenkoji Temple, No. 20 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 2nd month of 1857. Woodblock print, Image: 13 3/8 x 9 in. (34 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.20
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.20_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "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 Scene of the Kawaguchi Ferry across the Arakawa River and Zenkoji Temple on the other side, half hidden by the title cartouche to the upper right. This temple was renowned for the practice of the periodic unveiling of its main image of Amida, which tended to rotate every seventeenth year, in the case of Kawaguchi's Zenkoji, and had been approved to start early in the Third Month of 1858 and was to last for sixty days. In those two months the normally quiet temple seen here would have been transformed into a booming entertainment village, with sideshows, acrobats and legal gambling. Scene shows rafts of lumber being poled upstream (contrary to the normal transport of lumber).
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (88%)
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