Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 16, Kambara, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
8 3/4 in. x 13 9/16 in. (222.25 mm x 344.49 mm)
On mat in pencil: exhibited Nov-Dec 1987 Clark Museum, Jo XVI 16, set #16. Signed: Hiroshige ga. Censor's seal: Kiwame.
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.
Color woodblock print from Hiroshige's Tokaido Road series. Kambara is the most acclaimed of Hiroshige's works; it is considered a world-class masterpiece. Hiroshige depicts a snowy night in a village sited on nearly flat land that lacks any distinguishing topographical features. Three travelers or villagers, two moving toward the right and one toward the left, laboriously walk with dragging feet. The hills, trees, and houses and heavily blanketed by the continuously falling snow. People in Hiroshige's time as well as later scholars have tried to locate, with no success, the place in Kambara that Hiroshige has depicted here. It has also been pointed out that in fact it seldom snows in Kambara.
This splendid midnight snow scene, created mainly in a monotone of black and white, seems to be a creation of Hiroshige's imagination and ingenious design ability, and it has an expressiveness that is freed from the limitations of reality. The only positive color appears on the figures: the man at the left wears a blue coat and carries a red umbrella, while on the right, one man wears an orange mino (coat made of rice straw) and blue leggings, and the other wears a yellow coat and red leggings.
The print is marked by fuku-bokashi printing, a technique by which the sky is darkest at the horizon line, and becomes gradually lighter as it ascends up into the sky. The effect of gradation was created by wiping color off the inked block. This may be a second edition, as there is another version of this prints exists, with subtle differences.
Ref. "Hokusai and Hiroshige," p.179.
Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi) seal.
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