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Johnson Collection of Japanese Prints

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Ando Hiroshige (aka Hiroshige), Japanese, (1797–1858)
Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 13, Numazu, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
8 13/16 in. x 13 13/16 in. (223.84 mm x 350.84 mm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. James W. Johnson
Accession Number: 46.1.69


Marks
On verso in pencil, lower right: Jo XVI 13. On mat in pencil: Johnson XVI 13.

Medium
Nishiki-e, horizontal oban; colored ink on paper.

Object Description
Color woodblock print with an image of figures walking on a path at night-time. "Twilight at Numazu" is one of the most lyrical compositions in Hiroshige's Tokaido Road series. It depicts three tired travelers at dusk, making their way to the village of Numazu. The full moon rising behind a tall tree casts a faint light on the winding road and the village in the distance. A parent and child, followed by a figure carrying a huge mask with a long nose, are seen from the back. The forest on both sides of the road is ghostly and dark, no doubt making the travelers wish even more to reach their place of rest at the day's end.

The gigantic mask carried by the last man is Sarudahiko, the god of the road, and the mask carried by people in the Buddhist procession at the shrine of Kompira in Shikoku. Its presence here may suggest that the travelers are making a pilgrimage to that shrine.

Hiroshige loved the moon, using it as a key element in his designs. For some reason, however, "Numazu" is the only scene in the Tokaido Road series in which the artist depicted the moon to create a lyrical mood.

Ref. "Hokusai and Hiroshige," p.175.

Publisher
Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi) seal.

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