Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 46, Shono, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
8 13/16 in. x 13 11/16 in. (223.84 mm x 347.66 mm)
On verso in pencil, lower right: Ba39. On mat in pencil: "A Shower" Jo XIX 46A, BA#39. Signed: Hiroshige ga.
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.
Color woodblock print of workers in the rain in Shono, Japan.
Shono is the smallest station on the Tokaido Road. Because pilgrims visiting Ise Shrine did not pass Shono and Ishiyakushi, its direct neighbor, these villages could not maintain a high level of tourist business. Shono had only ten inns, and more than 50 percent of the population engaged in farming.
Palanquin bearers and villagers make their way through a rainstorm. A bamboo grove behind them sways violently, and bands of tall trees farther back are reduced to flat, gray, bending shapes. One villager protects himself with an umbrella on which the publisher's announcement is written: “Takenouchi Han, Gojusantsugi” (The series of Fifty-three, published by Takenouchi). The touches of pink, blue, and green on the clothes of the figures make brighter notes against the gray tone of the picture. Hiroshige depicted rain with emphatic, slanted, straight lines, suggesting the speed and continuity of the rainfall.
In the twentieth century, only the print Kambara of the Tokaido Road series is more popular than Shono. In a simple setting, Hiroshige expressed his view of nature and human beings so successfully that a viewer cannot help but feel compassion for the humans, yet still realizing that rain is one of nature's greatest blessings.
(ref. “Hokusai and Hiroshige,” p.209 )
Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi).
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