Tōkyō meishō zue: Kudanzaka Ushigabuchi
Japanese print showing large area of grass surrounded by buildings; people walking, man riding horseback, and pool of water in foreground.
Title from item.
Signature: Hiroshige fude.
Seal date: Horse 3.
From series entitled: Tōkyō meishō zue (Famous places in Tokyo).
Annotations, stamps, etc. on verso of print: 17; LC2585; 47623a.
Earlier control number: 4162-17.
Gift; Mrs. E. Crane Chadbourne; 1930; (DLC/PP-1930:47623a).
Forms part of: Chadbourne collection of Japanese prints (Library of Congress).
Woodblock printing in Japan (木版画, moku-hanga) is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). Woodblock printing appeared in Japan at the beginning of Edo period, when Tokugawa shogunate was ruled by the Japanese society. This technique originated from China, where it was used to print books for many centuries. Its original name is ‘moku-hanga’ and it has a wide usage in artistic genre of ‘ukiyo-e’. As opposed to western tradition, where artists used oil-based inks for woodcuts, moku-hanga technique uses water-based inks. That is why those prints had colors so vivid, as well as glazes, and transparency. This collection describes Japanese printmaking different schools and movements. The most notable of them were: - From 1700: Torii school - From 1700-1714: Kaigetsudō school - From 1720s: Katasukawa school, including the artists Shunsho and Shuntei - From 1725: Kawamata school including the artists Suzuki Harunobu and Koryusai - From 1786: Hokusai school, including the artists Hokusai, Hokuei and Gakutei - From 1794: Kitagawa school, including the artists Utamaro I, Kikumaro I and II - From 1842: Utagawa school, including the artists Kunisada and Hiroshige - From 1904: Sōsaku-hanga, "Creative Prints" movement - From 1915: Shin-hanga "New Prints" school, including Hasui Kawase and Hiroshi Yoshida Woodblock prints were provided by the Library of Congress and cover the period from 1600 to 1980.
Utagawa Hiroshige was born in samurai family in 1797 in what became modern Tokyo. Around 14 years old, he began painting and was introduced to Toyohiro of the Utagawa school. By 1812 Hiroshige was permitted to sign his works, which he did under the art name Hiroshige. Hiroshige lived in the barracks until the age of 43 as a firefighter and eventually turned his firefighter position over to his brother in 1823. It was not until 1829–1830 that Hiroshige began to produce the landscapes he has come to be known for. He also created an increasing number of bird and flower prints about this time. About 1831, his Ten Famous Places in the Eastern Capital was printed. In 1832 he produced the series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō, which contains some of his best-known prints. In his declining years, Hiroshige produced thousands of prints to meet the demand for his works, but few were as good as those of his early and middle periods. He never lived in financial comfort, even in old age. In 1856, Hiroshige "retired from the world," becoming a Buddhist monk; this was the year he began his One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. He died aged 62 during the great Edo cholera epidemic of 1858 and was buried in a Zen Buddhist temple in Asakusa. Hiroshige influenced French Impressionist Monet and Cézanne. Vincent van Gogh copied two of the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. Hiroshige's style also influenced the "Мир Искусства" (World of Art), a 20th-century Russian art movement.