Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 54, Otsu
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Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 54, Otsu, c. 1933-1834
Ink on Paper
8 13/16 in. x 13 5/8 in. (223.84 mm x 346.08 mm)
Same image as 54.1.3, but there are some changes (a mountain has been added to this image, and there is more color).
On paper backing, in pencil: Johnson collection XX set 54, #28, rare and early edition. Signed: Hiroshige ga.
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.
Color woodblock print with a village scene with men who have ox-pulled carts filled with loads going down a road.
Otsu was the last station from which travelers departed for Kyoto, their final destination. Located on the bank of Lake Biwa, Otsu was a harbor town with beautiful views of the lake and many famous temples, including the Ishiyama and Mii temples. In the eight views of Omi series, a popular painting theme, Ishiyama Temple is depicted in a well-known scene with a beautiful autumn moon, while Mii Temple (fig. I, p. 11) was known for its evening bell. In Otsu travelers could also obtain special souvenirs, the folk painting known as Otsu-e.
Hiroshige paid attention to none of these sights at Otsu. He chose instead to depict a street scene in front of the tea house: the constantly running well that people talked about, and the heavenly loaded wagon drawn by black oxen. In front of the wall at the left corner, a woman washes clothes in a tub, and a little child approaches with his arms out.
Inside the teahouse, with its broad open front and the store name, Hashirii (Running Well), appearing in the noren, tow women are selling dumplings. Two travelers rest on a platform; another has just stepped in. All this must have been part if the common scene observed daily in the main street of Otsu.
(ref. “Hokusai and Hiroshige,” p. 217)
Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi) seal.
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