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Moon Pine, Ueno, No. 89 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

In Edo, there was a particular taste for naming trees that were distinguished by their age or their form. Pine trees, which tend to live long and grow in strange shapes, were the most common of these. The example seen here was called the Moon Pine, not only because of its full, round shape but also because one could discern various phases of the moon by looking at the tree from different angles. One twentieth-century commentary also referred to it as the Rope Pine, presumably because of its resemblance to a loop of rope.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 7th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36.0 x 23.5 cm); image: 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (13 3/8 x 8 3/4 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei. Date and censor seal at upper margin.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.89
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Moon Pine, Ueno, No. 89 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 7th month of 1856. Woodblock print, sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36.0 x 23.5 cm);. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.89
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.89.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "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 This is the second view of the Moon Pine in the series, now seen from a different angle (see print 11). On the far shore is a row of commoners' houses, now the neighborhood Ikenohata 1-2 chome. Above, there are three fire towers; the one seen through the loop of the pine was the main estate of Maeda, lord of Kaga. Today, this land belongs to Tokyo University. In Edo it was a custom to name trees that were distinguished by their age or form and there are four other prints in this series which include the name of a famous pine in title (see prints 26, 61, 97, and 110). The name "Moon Pine" referred not only to its full round shape but also to various other phases of the moon, seen by looking at the tree from different angles. The famous branch seen here is reported to have blown off in a storm in the early Meiji Period.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (88%)
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