Signed Zen Hokusai Iitsu hitsu; censorship seal, kiwame; publisher's seal.
Colored ink on paper; woodblock print; oban yoko-e.
This interesting bridge was part of a walkway through an expanse of flowering irises. Its name, Eight-parts Bridge, describes a bridge construction type (yatsuhashi) that could consist of eight or more parts - a simple structure of narrow boards, which could be built on stilts in a zigzag pattern to span marshy land or a pond. Here Hokusai tries to reproduce the ancient Yatsuhashi Bridge over the irises, a site that figures in the "Tales of Ise," the well-known story of Ariwara no Narihira (825-880), a famous and handsome nobleman and poet. On his way to the northeastern region of the country (that is, toward Edo), Narihira stopped at Mikawa and had lunch near the Yatsuhashi Bridge. The story inspired both poets and painters, who painted imaginary scenes of Narihira and this bridge. The actual bridge had apparently ceased to exist by Hokusai's day; he re-created the famous Yatsuhashi with figures contemporary to his time.
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