Jim Breen's Ukiyo-E Gallery - Hiroshige

Jim Breen's Ukiyo-E Gallery - Hiroshige

Hiroshige's Tokaido

Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858) is one of the most famous Ukiyo-E artists. He specialized in landscapes, and in particular his sets of related scenes, such as the "Hundred Famous Places of Edo" and "Famous Views of the Eastern City". Best known is his "Fifty-Three Stages of the Tokaido", which depict scenes along the old imperial highway from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto. (You can see a complete set at the Tokugawa Gallery site.)

(Some of the images in my collection are not of a particularly high quality, and I would like to replace the poorer examples below, as the colours and contrasts have been partially lost.)

The very first is the early morning view of the Nihonbashi bridge. It is hard to relate this scene to the modern Nihonbashi, which is a grubby inner-city area of Tokyo. You can see, and walk across, a replica of this bridge in the Edo-Tokyo Museum (here).

This is Number 11. The scene is looking down on Lake Ashi at Hakone.

The very famous "Dusk in Numadzu", which is No. 13. The long-nosed "Sarutohiko" mask on the back of the pedestrian is a sign that he is a pilgrim en route to the Konpira Shrine in Shikoku.

This is Number 16, the famous "Evening snow at Kanbara". It is regarded by many as one of the finest in the genre.

Number 21 is a winter scene at Mariko.

Number 28 is a roadside teahouse near Fukuroi.

Number 29 is the Tenryu River, west of Mitsuke. This is considered one of Hiroshige's better river compositions.

Followed by No. 30, a winter scene in Hamamatsu.

No. 46 is the famous rain shower at Shouno. This image is a bit washed out, but the picture is one of Hiroshige's best, and expresses the heavy rain and wind marvellously well.

Number 48 is another winter scene, this time at Seki.

Rafael Santos has collected a short biograpical sketch of Hiroshige.

Hiroshige's "One hundred views of famous places of Edo"

Equally impressive is his "One hundred views of famous places of Edo". I will never forget the impression this made on me when a touring exhibition of this collection came to the National Gallery of Victoria, in think in 1985.

This is the bridge at Awate.

And this is the Fukagawa Suzaki juman tsubo (Juman tsubo plain at Suzaki, Fukagawa)

Hiroshige's "Famous places of the eastern capital"

From this series is the "Snow at the field of Kameido tenman shrine."

Other Hiroshige works

These are some of his characteristic bird and animal pictures: "wild duck and reeds in snow", "a white heron and iris", "a long-tailed blue bird on a blooming plum branch" and "sparrow, moon, and peach blossoms",