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Kanagawa in Musashi Province: Distant View of Yokohama from the series Calligraphy and Pictures for the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Kanagawa in Musashi Province: Distant View of Yokohama from the series Calligraphy and Pictures for the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō

by Utagawa Yoshimori, 1872


IHL Cat. #580

About This Print

Number 4 in the series Calligraphy and Pictures for the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō consisting of fifty-three prints, plus an introductory sheet.

Source: Yokohama Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan, Yonemura, Smithsonian Institution, 1990, p. 125.

The inscription in Chinese characters at the upper right reads:

The wind sends flags and sails in brocade waves, revealing copper masts and iron hawsers.  It stops in the distance, in the inlet of the bay.  We hear news of its name and its signal fires, and know that a steamship approaches the harbor.

The title of Yoshimori’s print refers to the fifty-three stations along the Tokaido, the eastern highway linking Edo and Kyoto.  The theme was made famous through the prints of Hiroshige I (1797-1858) and many of his contemporaries.  Kanagawa, one of those stations, lay directly across the bay from Yokohama.  From that vantage point, the prosperous town of Yokohama with its substantial   Western-style buildings is illustrated in the distance.

Dominating the scene is the figure of a woman, portrayed with studied attention to details of light and  shadow that reflect the artist’s awareness of Western wood engravings or other pictorial sources.  Her image may in fact be derived from a figure in the foreground of an illustration of India published in the Illustrated London News (see below.)  Combining elements of traditional Japanese art with an exceptionally successful reproduction of a Western artistic model, the print presents a striking if somewhat disconcerting visual effect.



Illustrated London News

The figure is also very madonna-like and Yoshimori may well have taken his inspiration from a number of reproductions of classical European works that made their way to Japan.

Simone Martini
 The Annunciation detail c. 1245-1300

Signatures and Seals on the Print


In addition to Yoshimori's signature and seal appearing in the bottom panel to the left of the figure, other signatures and seals appear in the two halves of the upper panel.   I imagine they are the signatures of the calligrapher and another artist who created the inset to the left of the panel containing the calligraphy.

 
Zen Yoshimori K
ōsai shasei (Drawn from life by Kôsai, formerly Yoshimori), 1872
(Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
 
unidentified signature
觀水
and unidentified seal
 

unidentified signature and seal in calligraphy panel
 
unidentified seal in calligraphy panel reading (perhaps)
卍 全 黒  


Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 #580
 Title or Description  Kanagawa in Musashi Province: Distant View of Yokohama (Bushū Kanagawa, Yokohama enbō 武蔵 神奈川 横浜眺望)
 Series  Calligraphy and Pictures for the Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō
 (Shoga gojūsan eki 書画五拾三駅)
 Artist  Utagawa Yoshimori (1830–1884)
 Signature  Zen Yoshimori Kōsai shasei (Drawn from life by Kōsai, formerly Yoshimori) also see above for discussions of other signatures and seals on this print
 Seal  unread artist's seals
 Publication Date
October 1872 (aratame date seal)
 Publisher
Sawamuraya Seikichi 沢村屋 清吉.  (Note: Yokohama Prints, referenced below, incorrectly lists the publisher of this print as Ōta-ya Takichi 太田屋 多吉.)
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  fair - backed, horizontal fold with separation at fold repaired from back; numerous worm tracks in margins repaired from back; several spots of foxing in image; soiling throughout
 Genre  ukiyo-e; yokohama-e
 Miscellaneous  
 Format  vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 13 7/8 x 9 1/2 in. (35.2 x 24.1 cm)
 H x W Image  13 1/8 x 8 3/4 in. (33.3 x 22.2 cm)
 Literature
 Yokohama Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan, Yonemura, Smithsonian Institution, 1990, p. 125. Cat. No. 45
 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.41431; City of Yokohama "Yokohama Memory"; Hagi Uragami Museum U01196; National Diet Library 寄別7-7-1-4
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