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Chiyogaike Pond, Meguro, No. 23 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

Chiyogaike Pond, located on a bluff overlooking the valley of the Meguro River in suburban Edo, was named after a medieval warrior's wife who drowned herself in the pond on hearing of her husband's death in battle. The depiction of reflections in the pond—the cherry trees to the left mirrored in the water in a faint haze of pink—is unusual for Hiroshige. Water reflections were already an artistic convention in Japan in the late seventeenth century, and ensuing Western influences in the eighteenth century made such pictorial effects, together with the comparable use of shadows, familiar to ukiyo-e artists. Still, they used the technique sparingly.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 7th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 5/16 x 8 3/4 in. (33.8 x 22.2 cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-hitsu; Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.23
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1930, provenance not yet documented; by 1930, acquired by Anna Ferris of Summit, NJ; 1930, gift of Anna Ferris to the Brooklyn Museum.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION View of Chiyogaike or Chiyo's Pond overlooking the valley of the Meguro River, lying west of what is now the stretch of the Yamanote Line between Ebisu and Meguro stations. Today this area has been built over with multistory apartments. Unusual in this print are the reflections of the trees in the water, showing ensuing Western influences. Still this type of technique was used sparingly and only in three other prints in this series, plates 4, 34, and 91, does Hiroshige indulge in what was to his viewers still a rather exotic effect. The pond appears to have survived until the 1930's and the site today is occupied by the Tokyo Metropolitan Education Research Institute.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Chiyogaike Pond, Meguro, No. 23 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 7th month of 1856. Woodblock print, Image: 13 5/16 x 8 3/4 in. (33.8 x 22.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.23 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.23_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.23_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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