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Kanasugi Bridge and Shibaura, No. 80 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

This colorful procession is a group of Nichiren Buddhists crossing the Kanasugi Bridge along the stretch of coast known as Shibaura. The autumn season assigned to the print suggests that it is Oeshiki, the thirteenth day of the Tenth Month, the day Nichiren, the founder of this particular Buddhist sect, died in 1282. Whether the procession is en route to or returning from its destination, the temple where Nichiren died, is unclear. Perhaps what Hiroshige has done is to show the two faces of the pilgrimage: the exuberant setting out under fluttering banners in the foreground, and the exhausted return of the pilgrims in the background, huddled under hats and umbrellas.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 7th 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 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (34 x 22.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS No publisher's seal visible; probably lost when left margin was trimmed. date seal and censor seal at top margin.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.80
    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 image depicts a group of Nichiren believers crossing the Kanasugi Bridge, where the Tokaido crosses the mouth of Furukawa River. From the tall bamboo pole hangs an array of cotton hand towels and wood ladles, intended as offerings at the water basin of a temple. The towels show the crest of the Nichiren sect, a mandarin orange blossom within a well crib. The next pole, with the long pennant, is inscribed with the Nichiren invocation known as the Daimoku: "Praise to the Wondrous Law of the Lotus Sutra." The last pole on the right is inscribed "Minobu-san," the name given to the mountain location of the main Nichiren temple, south of Mount Fuji. At the lower left are towels to be offered by "Uoei" (the publisher) who perhaps was a Nichiren believer himself. The print suggests that the procession is on its way to the temple of Honmonji in Ikegami, where Nichiren died in 1282. Thousands of believers flocked to Honmonji every year and continue to do so today. The area shown is the Shibaura (Shiba Coast), the stretch of coast from the mouth of the Furakawa River north to Hama Palace. The whole area was changed when Japan's first railroad was built (where the man is seen poling a boat). The area to the far right is now occupied by Tokyo Shibaura Electric, better known today as Toshiba.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Kanasugi Bridge and Shibaura, No. 80 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 7th 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, 30.1478.80 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.80_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.80_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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