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View of Nihonbashi Tori-itchome (Nihonbashi Tori-itchome Ryakuzu), No. 44 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

It is a hot summer day in the middle of the Main Street of Edo in the bustling Nihonbashi district, and almost everyone hides under a hat or a parasol, intent on avoiding the sun. Under a huge two-tiered parasol is a group of dancers who performed celebratory shrine dances for donations. Called Sumiyoshi dancers because of their origin as seasonal minstrels from Sumiyoshi Shrine near the city of Osaka, they had evolved by Hiroshige's time into native Edo street performers. Following them is a different sort of street minstrel, from the outcast hinin class. Such women sang songs accompanied by the samisen, a lute-like instrument, and were always escorted at a distance by a husband or a father.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 8th month of 1858
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS 14 3/16 x 9 3/8in. (36 x 23.8cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 7/16 in. (36 x 23.9 cm) Image: 13 1/4 x 8 7/8 in. (33.7 x 22.5 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 30.1478.44
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). View of Nihonbashi Tori-itchome (Nihonbashi Tori-itchome Ryakuzu), No. 44 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 8th month of 1858. Woodblock print, 14 3/16 x 9 3/8in. (36 x 23.8cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.44
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.44_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 This scene is in the middle of the main street in Edo, on a hot summer day; most of the people are under hats or parasols to escape the sun. The older man on the right is eating a yellow Makuwa melon and beyond him to the left, a delivery boy is almost hidden by his tray load of noodle boxes from the sboa shop Tokyoan (the white noren in center). A group of Sumiyoshi dancers are under a huge two-tiered parasol. Originally, the Sumiyoshi dancers were seasonal minstrels from Sumiyoshi Shrine, near Osaka, who would perform celebratory shrine dances in return for donations. The five dancers here are wearing their costumes of straw materials, red aprons, white fans and sedge hats, topped by the blue parasol with red shashes and white "gohei." Following the dancers is a female street minstrel, the "onna-dayu," who along with others would sing to shamisen accompaniment. The onna-dayu were from the outcast "hinin" class and were always followed at a distance by a husband or father. It was suggested by Miyao Shigeo that this woman following the Sumiyoshi dancers might be their samisen accompanist. The street scene here is the cotton sellers district, occupied by merchants from the Omi region. The Sumiyoshi dancers were traditionally dressed in cotton; the onna-dayu were prohibited by class barriers from wearing silk but were known for their stylish cotton kimonos, as seen here, closely fitted and wearing high "geta" clogs. The large store to the right is Shirokaya, founded in 1662 and one of Tokyo's great modern department stores, now part of a Tokyo chain.
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