Hiroshige, Utagawa; designer; Japanese artist, 1797-1858
circa 1837 circa 1838
Colour print from woodblocks with snowflakes spattered in white pigment (gofun). Ôban. Signed: Hiroshige ga. Publisher's seal: Kikakudô (Sanoya Kihei). Censor's seal: kiwame. c.1837-8.
given; 1913; Riches, Thomas Henry
From the series Edo kinkô hakkei no uchi (Eight views of the environs of Edo), privately commissioned by the kyôka poet Taihaidô Nomimasu for his poetry group, the Taihaidô, c.1837-8. It was also published commercially by Sanoya Kihei, with variations in the printing and in the number of poems by members of the Taihaidô that appear on the prints. The idea for sets of eight prints (hakkei) ultimately derived from the traditional set of Chinese painting subjects, ‘Eight views on the Xiao and Xiang Rivers’, which had been recast by the end of the fifteenth century as eight Japanese views of Lake Biwa in Ômi Province (Ômi hakkei); Japanese artists who painted the Lake Biwa set intended it to carry an association of the Chinese original. By Hiroshige’s day many other places had acquired their own sets of eight views, with each view associated with one of the traditional titles: Lingering snow (bosetsu); Autumn moon (shûgetsu); Sunset glory (seiran); Night rain (yau); Wild geese descending (rakugan); Evening bell (banshô); Evening glow (sekishô). Asukayama, five miles from the centre of Edo, was planted with cherry trees by the shogun Yoshimune and opened as a public park in 1737. It was a popular site for blossom-viewing. The spattered snowflakes do not appear on all impressions. On impressions printed for the Taihaidô poetry group (with the group’s seal in the margin) there are three poems in the sky, two of which are omitted in this impression leaving the single verse by Taihaidô Nomimasu: ‘The snow covers the signs, warning against breaking the cherry branches and also breaks them itself.’
Object Number: P.3588-R
(Paintings, Drawings and Prints)
(record id: 182517; input: 2011-03-29; modified: 2017-01-03)