Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 18, Okitsu, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
8 3/4 in. x 13 11/16 in. (222.25 mm x 347.66 mm)
On verso in pencil: Johnson XVI 18. On mat in pencil: Jo XVI set 18, n.388. Signed: Hiroshige ga.
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.
Color woodblock print of Hiroshige's Tokaido Road series. Six miles from Yui is the scenic spot of Okitsu, not far from the coast of Tago (Tago no ura) and the pine grove of Miho, which makes a background for this humorous scene that shows sumo wrestlers crossing the Okitsu River.
One wrestler is carried in a palanquin, and the other, precariously balancing his bulk, perches on a horse led by a groom. Transporting heavy sumo wrestlers posed a challenge for both the men and the horse, and four bearers, instead of the usual two, were needed to carry the palanquin. The grotesque pinnacle at left and its barely secured tree, seemingly unstable as the mounted wrestler, provide a humorouis counterpoint to the earthbound athletes.
Hiroshige based this composition on a picture of traveling wrestlers on the Tokaido Road at Okitsu station, which appeared in a travel guide, "Illustrated Book of Famous Places on the Tokaido Road" by Hara Arimasa, published in the late eighteenth century.
Ref. "Hokusai and Hiroshige," p.181.
Senkakudo and Hoeido seals.
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