Japanese swords, £18.00
Height: 370.000 mm (each
Width: 245.000 mm
Asia JA 1906.12-20.0221
Torii Kiyonaga, Travellers at Enoshima, a triptych of colour woodblock prints
Japan, about AD 1788-89
This view of Mt Fuji is across Sagami Bay from Katase Beach. A collection of elegantly dressed pilgrim-travellers from the city wait at a tea-stall for low tide, when they will be able to cross the causeway to the sacred island of Enoshima.
Kiyonaga shows each of the figures reacting to the exertions of travel in a natural, understated manner: a hat is removed, a breast fanned, perspiration wiped, a pipe smoked and a sandal re-tied. The scantily clad boy from a fishing village draws the attention of the travellers to some attraction outside the frame. Down by the shoreline more tourists watch boys swimming and look across towards the shrine gate and bustling hostelries on the island itself.
Mt Fuji, much more prominent than in reality, is shown framed by the reed blinds of the tea-stall. It may act here as a symbol of the freedom of travel, away from the closely constrained city life of populous Edo (modern Tokyo).
T. Clark, 100 views of Mount Fuji (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)