- Museum number
- Object: Soshu Enoshima no fukei Koshigoe no ho yori miru zu 相模江之島ノ風景腰越ノ方ヨリ見圖 (A View of Enoshima in Sagami Province, Looking from the Direction of Koshigoe)
Colour woodblock double-aiban print, uki-e. View of Enoshima island from Koshigoe; pilgrims walking to island at low tide; Mount Fuji in background. Inscribed, signed and marked.
- Production date
- 1784 (c.)
Height: 31.40 centimetres
Width: 45.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The island of Enoshima near Kamakura could be reached by foot at low tide. It has a shrine to Benzaiten, the deity of wealth and music, and is a favourite place of pilgrimage. In this rare and early landscape print Shunsho clearly follows the Europeanised method of Shiba Kokan, including the use of shadows. The view is an artificial one, since Mount Fuji would not be visible next to Enoshima from this point. The signature is 'Painted by Katsu Shunsho'.
The view of Mt Fuji is across Sagami Bay from Katase Beach near the post-station of Koshigoe, where a causeway joined the mainland at low tide with the island of Enoshima. This was a popular destination for pilgrims, particularly those from Edo who would go on a combined two- or three-day trip to Oyama and Enoshima. The Shinto Shrine to the goddess Benzaiten on the island was sub-divided into three: Okutsumiya (Inner Shrine), Nakatsumiya (Middle Shrine) and Hetsumiya (Shore Shrine), each with a related Buddhist temple, the Iwamoto-in, Kami-no-miya, and Shimo-no-miya, respectively. These vied with one another to attract pilgrims, particularly on the occasions every six years (in snake and boar years) when they took it in turns to stage displays of their treasures ('kaicho'). Benzaiten is a deity associated with the arts and good fortune, as well as with water in her manifestation as a water-snake, so her worship attracted a very wide range of believers (Nishiyama Matsunosuke, 'et al.', eds, 'Edogaku jiten', Tokyo, Kobunsha, 1984, p. 344).
'Perspective views' ('uki-e'), generally townscapes of Edo, enjoyed a considerable vogue from the late 1760s, when the genre seems to have been revived by Utagawa Toyoharu (perhaps influenced in turn by the work of Maruyama Okyo in Kyoto). This is the only printed pure landscape view by Shunsho currently known. Its similarity in terms of size, title, signature, publisher's marks, etc., with 'Perspective Picture of the Great Subscription Sumo in Edo' ('Edo kanjin o-sumo uki-e no zu') also by him, which is datable to the third month, 1784, suggests a close date for the Enoshima view (Lawrence Bickford, 'Sumo and the Woodblock Print Masters', Tokyo, Kodansha International, 1994, fig. 23, p. 80). Of particular interest in this print is the very obvious imitation of European techniques not only of perspective but also of hatching in the rocks and waves. Even more unusually, the figures on the causeway cast shadows. The painter Shiba Kokan (see pp. 15-17, fig. 5) began to create copperplate landscape prints after the European manner in 1783, but the first dated view of Enoshima (Shichiri-ga-hama) by him presently known was done in 1787 (Naruse Fujio, 'Shiba Kokan: Shogai to gagyo (sakuhin hen)', 2 vols, Tokyo, Yasaka Shobo 1995, plates vol., no. 98, p. 112). Shunsho's model for these experiments in a Western-influenced style therefore remains uncertain.
Binyon, Laurence. 'A Catalogue of Japanese and Chinese Woodcuts in the British Museum'. London, British Museum, 1916, [Shunsho] no. 77.
Ueno no Mori Bijutsukan, eds. 'Daiei Hakubutsukan shozo ukiyo-e meisaku ten'. Tokyo, 1985, no. 127.
Smith, Lawrence. 'Ukiyo-e: Images of Unknown Japan'. London, British Museum Press, 1988, no. 127.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001, 11 May-29 Jul, BM Japanese Galleries, '100 Views of Mount Fuji'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number