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Flower Pavilion, Dango Slope, Sendagi, No. 16 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

A bank of decorative clouds separates this print into two seemingly different worlds—a lofty, mountain like retreat and a familiar scene of cherry viewing along a pond or river. The identification of the upper scene is clear enough from the title: it is the Flower Pavilion, a former nurseryman's garden opened to the public for seasonal flower viewing and described on an 1852 map as a "pavilion for all four seasons."

Why did Hiroshige divide the scene? Perhaps he intended to show autumn above and spring below, emphasizing that the garden was indeed "for all four seasons."

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 5th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 1/2 x 8 7/8 in. (34.3 x 22.5 cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm)
    MARKINGS No publisher's censor or date seals visible, probably lost when left edge was trimmed.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.16
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Cherry viewing in the "Flower Pavilion," identified as the Shinsentei (Purple Fountain pavilion), described on an 1852 Kiriezu map as a "shiki hanayashiki" or "flower pavilion for all four seasons." The scene above is one a deep, rich greens, with three small figures climbing through a craggy garden up to a bright pavilion, while below visitors of all classes stroll among the cherries and rest on teahouse benches. It is noted that the Flower Pavilion building was a rarity for its three storey height and popularly known as the "Outlook" (Miharashi) for the spectacular view which it offered of Ueno and Shinobazu Pond to the southwest. Little figures can be seen peering out from the windows of the lofty pavilion. It is possible that Hiroshige intended to show two different seasons here, perhaps autumn above and spring below, emphasizing that it was indeed a "flower pavilion for all four seasons." According to Ishii Kendo's commentary of 1919, the Shisentei was founded by a gardener named Kusuda Uheiji and covered an area of two and a half acres. By the time Ishii was writing in 1919, however, the original garden had been closed to public viewing and the land sold off into lots for private homes.
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