Hiroshige: Kinryūzan Temple and the Azuma Bridge, 100 Famous Views of Edo
歌川広重 Utagawa Hiroshige（1797-1858）
Distant View of Kinryūzan Temple and the Azuma Bridge, from the series of 100 Famous Views of Edo
木版画 | 纵绘大判 | 36.5cm x 25.2cm
Woodblock-print | Oban tate-e | 36.5cm x 25.2cm
So often in Hiroshige's 100 Famous Views of Edo, the background and the foreground are dramatically juxtaposed, even in competition. This is a prime example, and the foreground wins the fight. In the distance we see Kinryuzan Temple (the title of the print) and Azuma Bridge and, above it, Mount Fuji, classic subjects in Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. But in the foreground a pleasure boat comes slashing through the scene, with a geisha's back and hairdo just glimpsed. Hiroshige exaggerates the size of the boat: it looks giant. (You can still rent these kinds of boats today, or their modern equivalent.) Falling cherry blossoms remind us of the season, late Spring, and that like life it is fleeting.
This bold diagonal composition made this a favorite print early in the life of the series, especially among the first western collectors. Auction catalogues reveal that, in the early part of the 20th Century, it fetched comparable prices as Squall at Ohashi, which is now the most valuable print in the series. But this remains a personal favorite. I'd love to ride that boat.
Fading; restored small wormholes