Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 43, Kuwana, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
8 7/8 in. x 13 11/16 in. (225.43 mm x 347.66 mm)
On mat in pencil: Jo XIX ser. 43, Hiroshige, Kuwana Station 43, Shichiri Crossing. Signed: Hiroshige ga. Censor's seal: Kiwame.
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.
Color woodblock print with an image of a boat crossing a river.
Separated by 17 miles of the sea from Miya, the previous station, Kuwana had been an important harbor town even before the Edo period. It became even more important as the second-largest station on the Tokaido Road, with 120 inns to accomadate travelers. It was also the large castle town of the sixteenth-century Kuwana Castle. It had been occupied by several daimyo families until the early nineteenth century; from 1823 to 1868, it was the seat of the Hisamatsu family.
Hiroshige depicts two important features of the town, the harbor and the castle. In the right corner of the foreground, two boats lower their sails as they enter the Kuwana's harbor. The heads of many passengers appear below the sails, at the gunwales. Above the boats, Kuwana Castle rises atop a stone wall on the shore. Other sails appear in the distance.
The composition is diagonally oriented and tightly organized. Boats and castle occupy the right side of the composition. White sails and castle walls contrast with the beautiful blue of the bay, accentuated with wave crests that are indicated by numerous white dots. This impression is late, with color that differs from earlier ones, and it has lost some of the clarity of printing; it also shows darker color on the people.
(ref. “Hokusai and Hiroshige,” p.206 )
Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi) seal.
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