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Takata Riding Grounds, No. 115 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

This scene portrays samurai retainers practicing military skills at the Takata Riding Grounds in the hilly northwestern suburbs of Edo. It is a reminder that half of Edo's population consisted of a hereditary warrior class that, even after more than two centuries of peace, was still expected to maintain its military skills. The practice of the martial arts was on the rise at the time this print appeared, reflecting a mounting foreign crisis and a heightened governmental emphasis on education and training.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 2nd month of 1857
    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. (34.0 x 22.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.115
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Takata Riding Grounds, No. 115 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 2nd month of 1857. Woodblock print, sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36.0 x 23.5 cm);. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.115
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.115_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.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The samurai retainers practiced their military skills at the Takata Riding Grounds. In the middle distance two riders gallop past each other and at one end of the lawn, three archers take aim at a leather-faced target to the left. Hiroshige himself was of the samurai class, and his grandfather, Tanaka Koemon, had been an instructor of archery. The trees proved to be a good wind-break and local farmers set up teahouses so that the grounds became a pleasant place for outings. The entire track was about 60 yards wide and 400 yards long. After the Restoration, the land became filled with houses, as it is today. The Takata Riding Grounds gave its name to the nearby Takadanobaba Station on the Yamanote Line.
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