Height: 241.000 mm
Width: 368.000 mm
Asia JA 1906.12-20.0786
Utagawa Hiroshige, 'Yui: Satta Peak' (Yui, Satta-mine), a colour woodblock print
Japan, AD 1833-34
From the series 'Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Highway' (Tōkaidō gojūsan-tsugi no uchi)
Mt Fuji was highly visible along much of the main Tōkaidō Highway that went out from Kyoto as the 'Eastern Sea Road', following the Pacific coast towards Edo (modern Tokyo). Genre scenes depicted those who used the highway: ordinary travellers, porters, ecclesiastics, warriors on horseback and high-ranking individuals in palanquins (covered litters). Hiroshige's series, integrating ordinary people into a lyrical landscape in all its aspects and moods, has always been particularly popular.
Three tiny figures are visible in the top-left corner of this windswept scene. A woodcutter carries a large load, oblivious to the spectacular view, but the other two travellers gaze and gesticulate towards Fuji, perfectly symmetrical and elegantly white on the horizon across Suruga Bay.
A pass was cut high up the steep mountainside at Satta on the orders of the Shogunate in 1655, so that a Korean embassy procession of that year would not have to wait for low tide, as was the case with the coast road used previously.
T. Clark, 100 views of Mount Fuji (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)