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Seido and Kanda River From Shohei Bridge, No. 47 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)

Asian Art

This is the first of three depictions of rain in the series, all belonging to the season of summer. Here Hiroshige represents the steady slanting sort of rain typical of the June "plum rain"—named for the fruit that appears then—a pleasant sea of dull skies and rich greens that the print perfectly captures. In the Kanda River boatmen protected by straw rain capes pole their loads of lumber, while the people on the hill and the birds in the sky all seem at ease bathed in the warm summer shower. The outer walls of Yushima Seidō Shrine, founded in the seventeenth century for the study of Confucianism, are pictured on the far slope.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 9th month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS 14 1/4 x 9 5/16in. (36.2 x 23.7cm) Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 5/16 in. (36.2 x 23.7 cm) Image: 13 x 8 1/2 in. (33 x 21.6 cm)
    MARKINGS Seals in top margin: date seal and censor seal. No publisher's seal visible probably lost when left margin was trimmed.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    COLLECTIONS Asian Art
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.47
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION From the Shohei Bridge we look down on the Kanda River, with its beautifully shaded green banks rising high on each side. The banks were not this high in reality, but this is Hiroshige's way of portraying this man-made channel, which was carved through the Kanda Mountain in 1610 to divert the flood-prone Hira River. On the right are the outer walls of the compound where a shrine (dedicated to Confucius) and its affiliated Confucian college were located; the slope is known as Shoheizaka, which takes its name from Changping in the Chinese state of Lu, where Confucius was born more than five centuries before Christ. The shrine today survives as a center of Chinese culture, and the college at the crest of the hill is today the Tokyo Medical and Dental University. There are three prints of rain in this series, all in the "summer" group and this view is of the steady slanting type typical of the June baiu ("plum rain," after the fruit that appears then). In the river below are boatmen from the lumberyards of Yushima Yokocho, wearing straw raincoats, poling their cargo.
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