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New Fuji, Meguro, No. 24 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

This view documents the late Edo practice of constructing miniature replicas of Mount Fuji. The first such mini-Fuji was constructed in 1779 by a practitioner of Fujikō, a popular religion that worshipped the famed mountain as a god. The idea was to provide a chance to climb Mount Fuji for those normally unable to do so. The mini-Fuji in the foreground was built in 1819. A zigzag path along the slope mimics the switchback route up the real mountain.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 4th month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 7/16 x 9 in. (34.1 x 22.9 cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm)
    MARKINGS No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left edge was trimmed.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.24
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION View of a mini-Fuji built in 1829 on the estate of a shogunal retainer named KondoIuzo, well known for his exploration of the northern island of Hokkaido. It was a late Edo practice to construct miniature replicas of Mount Fuji. The first such mini-Fuji was built in 1779 in Takata (now the site of Waseda University) by a practitioner of Fujiko, a popular religion that worshipped Mount Fuji as a transcendent god. The miniature replicas enabled women, children, the elderly and infirm to climb Fuji. The mountain shown in this print is smoother than most mini-Fujis, which were generally built of rough lava transported from Mount Fuji itself and the zigzag path mimicked the route up the real mountain. The Kondo Fuji came to be known as the "New Fuji," in distinction to the early mini-Fuji nearby, (shown in the following print). Known as a religious site it was also a pleasure spot, for the splendid view it offered of the real Mount Fuji, shown in the distance. The stream below is the Mita Aqueduct, which ran along the bluff and around the New Fuji, and the shrine hidden in the trees in the middle distance is the popular Meguro Fuco, probably the destination for visitors stopping off at the mini-Fuji. Seven years after the founding of the New Fuji, Kondo Iuzo's son killed a neighboring farmer and his family in a dispute in a right to sell souvenirs to mini-Fuji visitors, resulting in the disgrace of the Kondo family. The mini-Fuji was leveled in 1965 for the construction of a research institute of KDD, Japan's international telephone and telegraph company. Stone markers from the "New Fuji" are still preserved behind the hedge on the south side of the institute lawn.
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