Ukiyo-e print



Colour woodblock print. Ukiyo-e print depicting life on the Sumida River in Edo (present day Tokyo) in the late 19th century. The bridge spanning the river is Ryogoku, meaning "Two Provinces" and so named because the bridge connected the provinces of Musashi, in which Edo was situated, and Shimousa. Some people crossing the bridge carry parasols, suggesting it is summer time. This is reinforced by the activities taking place on the river: the print is a good example of "fune asobi", pleasure boating, which mainly occurred in summer when people craved the cool air of the river. "Yane bune" (roofed boats with bamboo blinds) and "choki bune" (river taxi) carry passengers up and down the river. The residence of a daimyou (feudal lord) not only dominates the background but also provides a striking contrast to the small market stalls that line the river bank. The text in the bottom left hand corner reads from top to bottom "Shousai hitsu", "Shousai" referring to the artist Shousai Ikkei, and "hitsu" meaning "written by." The text in the yellow box in the top right hand corner reads from top to bottom "toukyou sanjyuuroku kei", 36 Scenes of Tokyo. The small text in the bottom right hand corner visible outside the border indicates the number 15. Shousai Ikkei produced a series of ukiyo-e titled "toukyou meisho sanjyuuroku gisen", Comic Scenes of 36 Famous Places in Tokyo (1871-1872). It is likely that this print is number 15 of this series. (1977.124.2, 1977.124.3, and 1977.124.5 could be of the same series.)