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Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 2, Shinagawa

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Ando Hiroshige (aka Hiroshige), Japanese, (1797–1858)
Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 2, Shinagawa, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
8 15/16 in. x 13 15/16 in. (227.01 mm x 354.01 mm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. James W. Johnson
Accession Number: 46.1.45


Bibliography
Singer, Robert T. and Melinda Takeuchi.  Edo  Art in Japan 1615-1868.  New Haven and London:  Yale University Press., 1998.

Commentary
Later state, without clouds and publisher's seal.

Marks
On mat, verso: Johnson Collection XIV sec. 20 n.378, Hiroshige, Shinagawa Station 2, Daimyo's Departure. Signed: Hiroshige ga. Without publisher's seal.

Medium
Colored ink on paper; woodblock print.

Object Description
Image in a town, with many workers walking along a street next to the water. Several boats can be seen in the water to the left of the town.

Shinagawa was the first station on the Tokaido for westbound travelers from Edo and the last stop for people coming from Kyoto.  This print depicts what would have been a common sight on the Tokaido, a daimyo procession - all clad in smart blue costumes with the customary two swords - performing the obligatory trek from their domains to the shogun's capital.  They move stiffly through the early morning, as rosy streaks of dawn break in the sky.  Although Katsushika Hokusai had also treated the subject of early morning departures, no print artist could surpass Hiroshige's capacity for lyricism.  His skill is seen especially in the expressive poses of the diminutive figures, from the boldly coquettish teahouse waitress standing by the lanterns left of the procession to the rather shy white-clad figure barely visible in the doorway of the second inn from the left.  The anonymous artisan who inked the blocks brilliantly captured the appearance of a dawn sky.  The great ships at sea remind us that the name Shinagawa means "Goods River" - products from all over the land entered Edo there.  Also famous for its cherry blossoms, Shinagawa thrived as a place for people to see friends off on their westward journey from Edo.

Publisher
Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi).

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