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Nakagawa River Mouth, No. 70 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

The two passenger boats in the lower half of this print are crossing paths on the Onagi Canal at the point where it joins the Nakagawa River, the broad stream in the center. They are passing in front of a guard station barely visible at the lower left. This checkpoint, established for military security in the early Edo period, was apparently once quite strict. By Hiroshige’s time, however, after more than two centuries of peace, the inspection procedure was a mere formality. A memory of the inspection station survives today in the Guardhouse Bridge, which spans the entrance to the Onagi Canal.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 2nd month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS 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 No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left margin was trimmed. Date and censor seals at top margin.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.70
    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 This view shows the Onagi Canal at the point where it joins the Nakagawa River in the center. Continuing in the far distance is the Shinkawa Canal. Both canals were constructed in the early Edo period to provide a rapid channel for supplying the city from the east and north, and for its access to the salt produced in the area. The mat-covered boats along the canal in the distance are probably carrying loads of this commodity. Two small passenger boats are seen in the lower part of the view and are passing in front of a "bakufu" guard station, which was a checkpoint established for military security. Each boat captain was required to stop at the landing and declare his cargo and passengers in detail. A memory of the inspection station survives today in Guardhouse Bridge which spans the entrance to the Onagi Canal. The Arakawa Drainage Canal presently replaces the lower Nakagawa.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Nakagawa River Mouth, No. 70 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 2nd month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.70 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.70_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.70_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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