Yoshitora, Seki Station - Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido Road

Utagawa Yoshitora (active 1850-1880) Seki Station, From the Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido Road Series, 1872. Oban.

There are several prints in this show documenting the Tokaido Road. This series by Yoshitora is among my favourite for its inventiveness and its clarity and for the beauty and elegance of the design. Yoshitora was a pupil of Kuniyoshi and is best known for his Yokohama prints of westerners; as a result this very fine series is often overlooked.

Each print is set within a formal frame work of three illustrations bounded on the right by a telegraph pole and post marker identifying the station on the road. In this print we see a wet nurse preparing food of sashimi and sushi. In the illustration above, a looser drawing of a pony being led by a porter. The print is vibrant with colour and design; the bold chevron in the background against the delicate floral Kimono and the fine shading to the upper portion set against the telegraph pole, this symbol of the new era. Perhaps though this print symbolises the end of an old era. The Tokaido Road had huge symbolic significance as a place of the spirits and its use was excluded to many social classes; it was a literal and metaphorical symbol of the floating world. By 1872, despite the establishment of the Land Transport Company, the newly established Tokaido Railway would see the decline and abandonment of the route and its national significance.

This print is in mint condition with pristine colours, a fine impression and no damage. Slight trimming to bottom edge.

Published by Sawamuraya Seikichi.