Mannen Bridge, Fukagawa (Fukagawa Mannenbashi), No. 56 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando)
This print suggests a visual and verbal play between the turtle as a conventional symbol of longevity in Chinese and Japanese lore and the name of the bridge, Mannen, which means "ten thousand years." The turtle may also refer to the bridge's location in the Fukagawa district, where turtles were bred for sale as pets. Moreover, it was a common custom in Edo for breeders of eels, carp, and turtles to offer their wares near bridges, for release into the rivers or canals below in hope of building up positive karma.
11th month of 1857
Edo Period, Ansei Era
Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 5/16 in. (36.2 x 23.6 cm)
Image: 13 3/8 x 9 in. (34 x 22.9 cm) (show scale)
Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei. Date and censor seals in top margin.
This item is not on view
Gift of Anna Ferris
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Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) (Japanese, 1797-1858). Mannen Bridge, Fukagawa (Fukagawa Mannenbashi), No. 56 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 11th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 5/16 in. (36.2 x 23.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.56 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.56_PS1.jpg)
overall, 30.1478.56_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.
In the foreground of this complex, closely framed scene is a baby turtle dangling from its vendor's leash and beyond is a section of the railing of Mannen Bridge, which lay at the entrance to the Onagi Canal (see prints 70 and 97 of this series), running though the Fukugawa district, where turtles were bred for sale as pets. It was a common custom in Edo for breeders of turtles to offer their wares near well traveled bridges for release into the rivers or canals below, a commercialized version of a Buddhist ritual, a "releasing of life" ceremony. The turtle was a conventional symbol of longevity in Chinese and Japanese lore; the title of the bridge, "10,000 years" (Mannen), also refers to longevity.
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