Hiroshige: Night View of Matsuchiyama Hill, 100 Famous Views of Edo
歌川広重 Utagawa Hiroshige（1797-1858）
Night View of Matsuchiyama Hill and Sanya Canal, from the series of 100 Famous Views of Edo
木版画｜纵绘大判｜36cm x 26cm
Woodblock print｜Oban tate-e｜36cm x 26cm
Look at that sky! Beautiful woodgrain creates the impression of the aura borealis sprinkled with stars. It continues in the deep blue-hued Sumida River. The bright lights of two famous restaurants – Yumeiro and Takeya – mark the opposite banks of the San’ya canal of the title, which is the route to the red-light district of Yoshiwara and the decadent pleasures hidden within. This is one of many wonderful nocturnes in Hiroshige’s 100 Famous Views of Edo, and the sense of night is especially strong. So dark is the scene that the red cartouche, the signature, the geisha’s undergarments and the back-half of the lantern being carried by the unseen attendant to the left stand out in stark contrast to the inky black night. It is a great work of Japanese woodblock print art.
And then there’s the geisha herself – one of very few full figures depicted in this series, and perhaps the only full-length bijin. We see her from an unusual side view (usually women were portrayed in three-quarters views in Ukiyo-e) with her getta raised mid-step. She looks, well… lost in thought? Annoyed? Crabby? She is likely heading to one event after completing a dinner at a nearby teahouse. A magical Hiroshige Ukiyo-e scene.
Early impression; very good condition