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Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 53, Kusatsu

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Ando Hiroshige (aka Hiroshige), Japanese, (1797–1858)
Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido: Station 53, Kusatsu, c. 1833-1834
Ink on Paper
8 11/16 in. x 13 3/4 in. (22.07 cm. x 34.93 cm.)

Object Type: Print
Technique: Wood-block Printing
Period: Edo (Japan, 1615-1868)
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. James W. Johnson
Accession Number: 46.1.6

Alternate Title: Tokaido gojusan tsugi no uchi [Hoeidoban]: Kusatsu, Meibutsu tateba

On mat in pencil: "Resting place for kago-bearers" 53 Stations of the Tokaido. Signed: Hiroshige ga. Censor's seal: Kiwame. Publisher's seal: Hoeido.

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

Object Description
Color woodblock print with an image of carriage bearers and a dining hall. Kusatsu was one of the busier stations on the Tokaido Road. Here two important highways, the Tokaido and Kiso Roads, diverged and converged. The Kiso Road traversed mountainous regions, connecting Edo and Kyoto. In front of a large teahouse, shopkeepers are selling a famous rice cake, ubumochi. Travelers pass through the wide-open front and sides, stopping to taste, or buy the cakes for those whom they have left behind at home or for friends they will meet in Kyoto.

In the broad area in front of the store, we see the plucky travelers departing: a man in a smaller palanquin is heading to the left, and is obviously in a hurry, as he has hired four bearers to run fast, rather than the usual two. A larger palanquin, also carried by four bearers, moves toward the right. These comings and goings within and outside the teahouse give the scene a sense of active motion, expressive of the feeling of a busy station.

(Ref. Hokusai and Hiroshige, p.216).

Hoeido (Takenouchi Magohachi) seal.

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