- Museum number
- Object: Soshu Enoshima Benzaiten kaicho-mode Hongu Iwaya no zu 相州江之島弁財天開帳詣本宮岩屋之図 (Pilgrimage to the Exhibition at Benzaiten Shrine on Enoshima, Sagami Province: Picture of the Grotto at the Main Shrine)
Colour woodblock oban triptych print. Pilgrims to Benzaiten Shrine at Enoshima, seen from direction of shore and connecting causeway: View from back of island; distant Mt Fuji in left; Iwaya Main Shrine cave and Manaita-iwa in right; groups of women wearing pilgrims' matching cotton robes over kimono and carrying paper parasols. Inscribed, signed and sealed.
- Production date
Height: 35.70 centimetres (c. each)
Width: 24.80 centimetres (c. each)
- Curator's comments
The Benten Shrine on the island of Enoshima near Kamakura was a popular place of pilgrimage from Edo. The statue of the deity was displayed once every six years.
(label copy, TTC, 1998)
The popularity of pilgrimages to the Benzaiten Shrine at Enoshima, near Kamakura, has been described in the commentary to Shunsho's 1780s perspective view of the island, as seen from the direction of the shore and connecting causeway (cat. 38). This is a view from the back of the island, with distant Mt Fuji now moved over to the left of the composition. The cave on the right into which pilgrims enter is the Iwaya Main Shrine (Iwaya Hongu) and to the right of that is so-called 'Chopping-Board Rock' (Manaita-iwa), where some women have spread a picnic blanket. Otherwise the visitors mainly comprise groups of women wearing pilgrims' matching cotton 'yukata' over their kimono and carrying paper parasols decorated with emblems of the four main Edo schools of narrative chanting, Tokiwazu, Kineya, Kiyomoto and Tomimoto. It must be that they belong to Edo clubs of amateur performers. Benzaiten was a deity associated with music, and this was the occasion of a display of shrine and temple treasures, including the statue of the deity herself, that was held in 1851 (a boar year - the displays took place every six years in snake and boar years).
In the British Museum collection is a companion triptych from the same publisher which shows crowds of similarly attired women at the front side of the island and causeway ('Soshu Enoshima Benzaiten kaicho sankei gunshu no zu') (Two impressions, 1906.12-20.01042, OA+0146). A much earlier triptych by Hiroshige is also known ('Soshu Enoshima Iwaya no zu') with a very similar design to the present one, published by Kawaguchiya Chozo to coincide with the display of treasures held in the snake year, 1833 ('Hiroshige (Bessatsu kobijutsu 3)', Tokyo, Sansai-sha, 1983, [print] no. 108). It was quite common practice for Ukiyo-e artists to re-use their own (and other's) designs in this manner (Suzuki lists seven triptychs by Hiroshige showing Enoshima pilgrim views. Suzuki Juzo, 'Hiroshige', Tokyo, Nihon Keizai Shiumbunsha, 19 70, [text] p. 163).
Binyon, Laurence. 'A Catalogue of Japanese and Chinese Woodcuts in the British Museum'. London, British Museum, 1916, [Hiroshige] no. 558.
'Hizo ukiyo-e taikan'. vol. 3, Tokyo, Kodansha, 1988, no. 90 (commentary by YokotaYoichi).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001, 11 May-29 Jul, BM Japanese Galleries, '100 Views of Mount Fuji'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number