- Museum number
Object: Toto Sukiya-gashi 東都 数奇屋河岸 (The Sukiya Embankment, Edo)
Series: Fuji sanjurokkei 冨士三十六景 (Thirty-six Views of Fuji)
Colour woodblock oban print. Sukiya embankment in snow: Rampart on inner side of moat of Edo castle in right; porters with loads crossing approach to bridge leading into Sukiya Gate; in the distance long outer walls of main residence of Nabeshima clan of Saga; Mt Fuji on horizon. Inscribed, signed, sealed and marked.
- Production date
- 1859 (?spring)
Height: 35.20 centimetres
Width: 24.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Clark 2001
It is a crisp, bright winter morning after snow has fallen thickly during the night, and there is still a faint pink glimmer all around the horizon. Mt Fuji is almost centred in the picture so we must be looking west-south-west from Edo. The Sukiya embankment was located along the moat of Edo castle, and the rampart on the inner side of the moat juts into the picture from the right. Porters with their loads cross the approach to the bridge leading into the Sukiya Gate. In the distance, straight ahead, is what must be the long outer walls of the main residence of the Nabeshima clan of Saga: Hiroshige had drawn a similar view - but advanced further around the moat - with the title 'Hibiya and Soto-Sakurada from Yamashita-cho', as no. 4 in the series 'One Hundred Famous Views of Edo' ('Meisho Edo hyakkei'), published in the twelfth month, 1857 ('Yamashita-cho Hibiya Soto-Sakurada'. Smith 1986, no. 3). The complex layering of fence, boats, masts, willow and roofs into the left side of the picture fixes us as if standing in a very specific location, taking in the deep, rich perspective.
Hiroshige had designed a set of 'Thirty-Six Views of Fuji' in small horizontal format for the publisher Sanoya Kihei at the end of 1852. And as we have seen, Mt Fuji also featured in many of his views of Edo, as well as views along the Tokaido Highway. However, this series was certainly his most ambitious project to capture the multifarious aspects of the cone-shaped form that had become such a common motif in his repertoire of both prints and paintings. The artist died on the 6th day of the ninth month (late autumn) in 1858, the victim of a cholera epidemic. All of the prints in the present series of 'Thirty-Six Views of Fuji' have a combined censorship/date seal of the fourth month, 1858. Notwithstanding this, the printed table of contents for the series bears a date seal for the sixth month, 1859 and the accompanying text by Santei Shumba describes how the late Hiroshige submitted the preparatory drawings in 'early autumn' (i.e., the seventh month) of the previous year, just before he died. Even though the evidence is somewhat contradictory, it does seem that the series was probably completed posthumously.
Binyon, Laurence. 'A Catalogue of Japanese and Chinese Woodcuts in the British Museum'. London, British Museum, 1916, [Hiroshige] no. 513.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001, 11 May-29 Jul, BM Japanese Galleries, '100 Views of Mount Fuji'
2007 Nov 28-2008 Jan 20, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK, 'Utagawa Hiroshige: The Moon Reflected'
2008 Mar 8-Apr 26, Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK, 'Utagawa Hiroshige: The Moon Reflected'
2008 Oct-2009 Feb, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to present'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number