Fireworks at Ryogoku (Ryogoku Hanabi), No. 98 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)
During summer and early fall, the Sumida River was the scene of a custom known as "taking in the cool of the evening." Activity centered at Ryōgoku Bridge, where an endless variety of entertainment was offered on both land and water. The ideal place was not in the crowded stalls of the bridgehead plazas but rather in one of the nearby restaurants or in an individually chartered pleasure boat on the river.
Fireworks were an indispensable feature of evenings on the river. By the mid-seventeenth century, they were so popular that the threat of fire led authorities to issue decrees restricting their use to the Sumida River.
8th month of 1858
Edo Period, Ansei Era
Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 23.5 cm)
Image: 13 3/8 x 8 7/8 in. (34 x 22.5 cm) (show scale)
No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left margin was trimmed.
This item is not on view
Gift of Anna Ferris
No known copyright restrictions
This work may be in the public domain in the United States. Works created by United States and non-United States nationals published prior to 1923 are in the public domain, subject to the terms of any applicable treaty or agreement.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this work. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties, such as artists or artists' heirs holding the rights to the work. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
The Brooklyn Museum makes no representations or warranties with respect to the application or terms of any international agreement governing copyright protection in the United States for works created by foreign nationals.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Fireworks at Ryogoku (Ryogoku Hanabi), No. 98 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 8th month of 1858. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.98 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.98_PS1.jpg)
overall, 30.1478.98_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.
This festive image shows pleasure boats on the Sumida River, with Ryogoku Bridge in the center. Elegant restaurants (north of the bridge) traditionally co-sponsored the major fireworks displays at the site, together with the boathouses. The large boat in the center is the "palace-boat," the only one of its kind to appear in this series. These grand pleasure craft were up to fifty feet in length and held as many as twenty "tatami" mats; they were hired out for parties by rich merchants. Next in size and most numerous here are the "roof boats;" the smallest are the uncovered "chokibune." Finally, there are the four boats which wandered among the pleasure boats to sell food and drink. Until 1659, all fireworks used in Japan were imported from China, but then an enterprising youth (Yabei) came to Edo and began to make his own. In 1733 he was commissioned by the shogun Yoshimune to mount a special fireworks display at the Ryogoku Bridge as a purification rite to dispel the evil spirits of the plague and famine then sweeping Japan (the first Kawabiriki- "opening river" ceremony). Only since the Meiji period have summer fireworks been reduced to a single spectacular display at the time of Kawabiriki. This particular print is very dark compared to other impressions of the image, particularly those found in the Hirose collection ("Ukiyo-e taikei').
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.