Nihon Embankment, Yoshiwara, No. 100 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)
Set off as a separate world by the line of rose-tinged clouds are the distant roofs of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters, the destination of most of those traveling below on the Nihon Embankment. Along the eight hundred–yard stretch of the embankment were more than a hundred teahouses, each associated with a particular Yoshiwara brothel. Most visitors to Yoshiwara would stop at one of these teahouses for rest or entertainment before proceeding on to the pleasure quarters.
4th month of 1857
Edo Period, Ansei Era
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)
No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left margin was trimmed. Date seal and censor seal at top margin.
This item is not on view
Gift of Anna Ferris
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Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Nihon Embankment, Yoshiwara, No. 100 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 4th 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, 30.1478.100 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.100_PS1.jpg)
overall, 30.1478.100_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 scene depicts a portion of the 800-yard stretch of the Nihon Embankment that led to the Yoshiwara ("pleasure quarters"). To reach the entertainment district, one could either rent a palanquin, as four have done in this view, or walk, concealing the face with a dark hood. Along the embankment were more than 100 teahouses, each bearing a cylindrical red lantern with the mark of a particular Yoshiwara brothel to which prospective customers would be introduced. The Nihon Embankment was constructed in 1620, two years after the Yoshiwara had been established as a prostitution district, officially licensed by the Bakufu. Above the rose-tinged clouds, a flock of geese cross the moonlit sky. Earlier impressions of this print have a green overprinting along the upper edge of the embankment and in the paddies along the San'ya Canal and particularly on the willow tree at the end of the embankment at far right. This is the famous "Looking-Back Willow," where parting guests would take their last parting looks back when leaving to return home.
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