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Bamboo Yards, Kyobashi Bridge, No. 76 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

Bamboo was an essential commodity in Edo, both for construction and for seasonal decorations. Stocks of tens of thousands of bamboo poles were brought in as rafts, and bamboo yards, while perhaps not as tall or as thick as shown here, were imposing to behold.

The characters "Hori-Take" on the lantern of the figure just left of center on the bridge are the hidden signature of Yokogawa Hori-Take, one of the best known carvers of the day, an artisan responsible for engraving many of Hiroshige's designs of the 1850s. Here he has inserted his name on the one print most appropriate to its literal meaning: "Carver Bamboo."

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 12th month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm) Image: 13 7/16 x 8 3/4 in. (34.1 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
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.76
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Bamboo Yards, Kyobashi Bridge, No. 76 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 12th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.76
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.76_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 Kyobashi was the first bridge on the Tokaido Road, south of the Nihonbashi Bridge, with which it shared the jewel-shaped metal rail ornaments known as "giboshi." The bridges leading into the gates of Edo Castle were the only others allowed these ornaments. The ornaments on the Kyobashi were preserved when the bridge was destroyed in 1965, and are seen today in front of a nearby police station. Hiroshige began his career as a landscape artist in 1831 with a variety of bridge and moon compositions. The incredibly tall pillars of the bridge in this scene might have influenced Whistler's "Nocturne in Blue and Gold: Old Battersea Bridge" (1872) in the Tate Gallery. Along the bank of this river were the bamboo dealers of Sumi-choa, which gave this area the name of Takegashi ("bamboo quay"). The procession crossing the bridge is a group of pilgrims returning from Mount Oyama with their souvenir bonten. Below is a boatman poling a skiff loaded with bamboo baskets. There is a figure crossing the bridge (about center) carrying a red lantern and on that lantern is the signature of Yokogawa Hori-take, one of the best known woodblock carvers of the day. He engraved many of Hiroshige's designs in the 1850's and carved the memorial portrait of Hiroshige shortly after the artist's death.
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