Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 30, Hamamatsu
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Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 30, Hamamatsu, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
9 3/4 in. x 14 5/8 in. (24.77 cm. x 37.15 cm.)
On mat in pencil: Jo XVII set 30, n.29. Signed: Hiroshige ga. Censor's seal: Kiwame. Seal of publisher: Hoeido.
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.
Color woodblock print from Hiroshige's Tokaido Road series. Hammatsu has been an important communication center where two important highways meet: the Tokaido and Shinano roads that led north to central Honshu. It is also situated midway between Edo and Kyoto; here travelers took a deep breath, happy to realize that they had now covered half the distance to Kyoto.
Hiroshige chose not to depict Hammatsu as a busy station, but instead selected a rural scene in which a group of farmers and a traveler warm themselves around a bonfire near a tall, straight tree. A pipe smoking man stands with coat raised to warm his back side; another man holds his palms to the fire; a girl with a baby on her back approaches the fire; and a traveler looks back as he leaves the fire. Across the expanse of the field, on the horizon at right, the castle built by Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1517 can be seen.
The scene emanates cold and is bathed in the chill clarity of a winter day, a mood that only Hiroshige managed to present.
The composition reveals an intriguing and subtle visual paradox. The tree divides the picture into two halves, but the column of smoke, rising behind it and echoing its columnar form, also extends into each half of the picture, in effect reuniting them.
(Ref. Hokusai and Hiroshige, p.193)
Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi) seal.
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