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Benkei Moat From Soto-Sakurada to Kojimachi, No. 54 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

This broad, gently curving stretch of water represents a segment of the great inner moat of Edo Castle. The red-gated mansion to the upper left belonged to Ii Naosuke, one of the shogun's closest political advisers. It was along the road to the lower left that he was assassinated by a group of hotheaded young loyalist samurai as he proceeded from his mansion to Edo Castle on a snowy day in early 1860.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 5th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Sheet: 14 5/16 x 9 5/16 in. (36.4 x 23.7 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 & censor seal.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.54
    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 The inner moat of Edo Castle, now known as Sakurada Moat was formerly known as Bankei Moat. The steep embankment to the right was the southwest perimeter of the castle. The red-gated mansion in the upper left was that of Ii Naosuke, lord of Hikone, one of the shogun's closest political advisers, who was assassinated in 1860 by a group of anti-foreign samurai. The site of the mansion is now occupied by a park containing the Parliamentary Museum and the Diet Building, which before the war was the General Staff Office of the Imperial Japanese Army. The daimyo mansions in the distance, formerly military facilities, are now the Supreme Court and the National Theater. This print is among the more unusual in this series as there is no commoner activity represented, but rather a display of shogunal power.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Benkei Moat From Soto-Sakurada to Kojimachi, No. 54 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 5th month of 1856. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 5/16 x 9 5/16 in. (36.4 x 23.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.54 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.54_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.54_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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