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Kinokuni Hill and Distant View of Akasaka Tameike, No. 85 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

The forward guard of a procession of samurai comes strutting up Kinokuni Hill with the Akasaka district in the distance. He wears a stern expression, intent on balancing in the palm of his hand a tufted standard that he would from time to time twirl and toss in the air. Some commentators have faulted Hiroshige for the downhill appearance of this uphill slope, but he is merely setting the stage for the performers. The figures probably belong to one side of a double-file procession, marching in a rhythmic goose step that is only hinted at by their tense posture.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 9th month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm) Image: 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (34 x 22.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei. Date and censor seal at top margin.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.85
    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.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This view shows a daimyo procession marching up Kinokuni Hill, with Akasaka district in the distance. Shown here is only one side of a double file procession. These figures were well known for their performing skills, twirling and tossing these standards, which are seen well balanced in the palms of their hands. The forward guard is wearing a jacket of indigo-dyed "shobu leather," named after the pattern of shobu leaves (seen also in print 64 of the series) on the shoulders. Kinokuni Hill ran outside the estate of the Tokugawa lord of Kinokuni (Kii Province, now Wakayama Prefecture). The Kii estate became Akasaka Detached Palace in the Meiji Period, then was the residence of the emperor until 1888. In 1909 it became a grand Western-style palace that remains there today and is now used as a state guest house. At the lower left is a section of the Outer Moat, known today as Benkeibori. In the far center distance is a fire tower and shogunal firefighter barracks, which today is the Hotel Okura Annex. Behind the procession, in the forest, is one of the estates of Asano of Hiroshima, which in modern times has been a military court, a prison, a barracks, and today is the site of the TBS broadcasting empire. At the far right is another fire tower of another shogunal barracks.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Kinokuni Hill and Distant View of Akasaka Tameike, No. 85 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 9th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.85 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.85_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.85_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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