Hiroshige, Famous Places of the Eastern Capital - Kasumigaseki

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) Famous Places of the Eastern Capital (Tōto meisho): Kasumigaseki, 1854. Oban triptych.

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Another rarity is this triptych by the greatest landscape artist of woodblock printing: Hiroshige I. Hiroshige’s triptychs are few and far between. We can only find one reference to this late work from 1854, at the Tokyo Metropolitan Library collection.

The print is on a theme to which Hiroshige returned many times during his working life - that of panoramic views of Edo… 'Toto meisho'. There is another series which has an image of the same subject as this print, the ‘official quarter’ of Edo, Kasumigaseki. That series dates from early in Hiroshige’s career, 1832 -34, coincident with his great Tokaido series of 1832. This print and its predecessor  are very similar. In the later print it as if the townspeople have become more important… in his early career Hiroshige was always minded to put humans in the crucible of nature - insignificant against its vastness.

This then is a busy townscape; roofs and buildings jostle against a backdrop of trees, we are seeing the scene from the river side looking up the hill. In the foreground there is an informal procession of women carrying paper parasols. A man on the left sheet carries a parasol decorated with  sweetmeats. This is a typical Hiroshige townscape, splendidly observed buildings and intimate drawings of Edoists.

This is a rare print. There are no other copies known apart from in the Tokyo Met’ as previously mentioned. The condition is good, with unusually full untrimmed sheets with margins, scuffs and minor marks. There are no binding holes and the print is unbacked. The impression is fair, colour very good. A fine, and very complete triptych.

Published by Sanoya Kibei.

77 x 37.5cm.