The Sumida River, 1854
Ink on Paper
8 5/8 in. x 13 9/16 in. (21.91 cm x 34.45 cm)
Signed Hiroshige ga. No publisher's mark; two seals in the right margin.
Colored ink on paper; woodblock print; oban yoko-e.
Ninteenth century Japanese color woodblock print of the Sumida River, with a ferry stop and a sailboat and two rowboats. Trees and flowering cherry trees are seen in the mid-ground, with a mountain in the distance. The Sumida River flowed south past the Yoshiwara licensed quarters and the center of Edo into a bay that opened into the Pacific Ocean, so the river was an important conduit for traders and pleasure seekers. Along the west shore of the Sumida were numerous docks, warehouses, stores and restaurants; and further west was Edo Castle. To the east of the river, shown in this print, were fields, trees and a few houses for fishermen and farmers. The close juxtaposition of the busy city, probably the largest urban center in the world during the 18th century, and the quiet countryside was striking; and the tranquil beauty of this rural area was often depicted in prints and poetry.
No publisher's mark.
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