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Basho's Hermitage and Camellia Hill on the Kanda Aqueduct at Sekiguchi, No. 40 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

The hermitage depicted on the hill to the right of the aqueduct in this view belonged to a nearby Zen Buddhist temple and was originally called the Ryūgean. In the late Edo period, it came to be known as "Bashō's Hermitage," after the famous haiku poet (1644–1694) who is said to have briefly lived in this area in the 1670s. In the early eighteenth century, some disciples of Bashō established a memorial mound to him within the hermitage precinct. Later Bashō Hall, containing images of the poet and his major followers, was built nearby.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 4th month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS 14 5/16 x 9 5/16in. (36.4 x 23.7cm) Sheet: 14 5/16 x 9 5/16 in. (36.4 x 23.7 cm) Image: 13 1/4 x 8 3/4 in. (33.6 x 22.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left margin was trimmed.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.40
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Basho's Hermitage and Camellia Hill on the Kanda Aqueduct at Sekiguchi, No. 40 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 4th month of 1857. Woodblock print, 14 5/16 x 9 5/16in. (36.4 x 23.7cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.40
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.40_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 A view of the Kanda Aqueduct, the oldest of Edo's water-supply canals built early in the Tokugawa period; it draws its water from Inokashira Pond (see print 87 of the series). A short distance downstream, a large dam gave the area the name of Sekiguchi ("mouth of the dam"). The Kanda Aqueduct continued on its course into underground pipes, supplying the daimyo mansions east of Edo Castle and much of the downtown commoners' area. On the right on the hillside was the Suijinsha Shrine, (a shrine to the water god, protector of the Kanda Aqueduct), below, midway up the hill is the Rygean, hermitage of a nearby Zen Buddhist temple. The slopes surrounding the hermitage were covered with camellias, although Hiroshige depicts only cherry blossoms, and it was known as "Camellia Hill." (Today this site is the large banquet restaurant, Chinzanso). Sometime in the late Edo period, the Ryugean came to be known as "Basho's Hermitage," after a famous haiku poet who lived briefly in this area in the 1670's while in the service of a daimyo who was repairing the Kanda Aqueduct. In the early 18th century some disciples of Basho set up a memorial to the poet and sometime later the Basho Hall (Bashodo) was built nearby. The memorial and Basho Hall survive, although closed to the public, just outside the Chinzanso gardens.
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