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Nihonbashi Bridge and Edobashi Bridge (Nihonbashi to Edobashi), No. 43 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

This print is the first of the summer designs in the series, and like the first part of the spring group it depicts Nihonbashi, the famous bridge at the center of downtown Edo. The fish in the bucket at the lower right represents the famous "first bonito"—a type of tuna—that signified the beginning of summer. Fishermen competed annually to bring the earliest catch of the bonito schools to the Edo market, knowing that they could command outrageous prices. The appeal lay less in the taste of the fish than in its rarity.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 12th month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS 14 1/4 x 9 1/4in. (36.2 x 23.5cm) Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 23.5 cm) Image: 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (33.9 x 22.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.43
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Nihonbashi Bridge and Edobashi Bridge (Nihonbashi to Edobashi), No. 43 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 12th month of 1857. Woodblock print, 14 1/4 x 9 1/4in. (36.2 x 23.5cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.43
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.43_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    "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 The first of the thirty prints assigned to the "Summer" series with a view of the Nihonbashi Bridge at the center of downtown Edo. The composition is wholly innovative: the viewer is situated only about four feet above the surface of the bridge, its dramatic form in the foreground set against a distant landscape. On the left, there is a metal finial on the post; such ornaments were reserved for bridges of distinction (see print 76 of the series). In the lower right there is a bucket containing the famous "first bonito" (hatsugatsuo) that the Edo citizens prized highly. Fishermen competed in the early summer to rush the earliest catch to Edo's market, knowing that they could command very high prices. The appeal for this fish was not so much in its taste but for its rarity. This view faces east toward the rising sun (the meaning of the bridge's name) which is seen as a red arc between the trees above the foot of Edobashi, the bridge in the distance.
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