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Benten Shrine, Inokashira Pond, No. 87 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

Inokashira Pond is intimately associated with Edo as the earliest source of its regular water supply. The Kanda Aqueduct, built in the early seventeenth century, carried its spring-fed waters to the city.

The orientation of the geography here suggests a blending of two different points of view. The pond itself is represented as seen from the northwest, while both the mountains in the distance and the shrine to the goddess Benten in the foreground are shown as seen from the south. In the case of the shrine, the southern perspective enables a frontal view that emphasizes the shrine's importance.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 4th month of 1856
    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 Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei. Date and censor seal at top margin.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.87
    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 Inokashira Pond, also known as Seven Spring Pond (Nanai no Ike) because it was fed by seven springs, supplied the Kanda Aqueduct, which formerly served as Edo's primary source of fresh water. In the distance is Nikko Range, with Mount Nantai to the left. In the lower corner is the Benten Shrine (dedicated to the Goddess of water, see discussion of print 83). This is the only frontal view of the shrine in the entire series. Today Inokashira Pond and the adjacent land is known as Inokashira Imperial Gift park, just south of the suburban center of Kichikoji, and a portion of the land has been made into a preserve for water birds (including the egrets shown here). Off in its own space, Benten Shrine still stands guard over the headwaters of the Kanda Aqueduct.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Benten Shrine, Inokashira Pond, No. 87 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 4th month of 1856. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.87 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.87_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.87_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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