- Museum number
Object: Senju kagai yori chobo no Fuji 従千住花街眺望ノ不二 (Fuji Seen in the Distance from Senju Pleasure Quarter)
Series: Fugaku sanjurokkei 冨嶽三十六景 (Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji)
Colour woodblock print, oban yoko-e. Procession of 'alternate attendance' (sankin kotai) in autumn with retainers carrying muskets sheathed in red cases, spear-tips visible behind trees, roadside tea-stall with straw sandals hanging under eaves, two women seated on raised path through harvested fields; in distance, Yoshiwara brothel district and Mt Fuji covered with snow. Inscribed and signed. 1 of 2 impressions in the collection.
- Production date
Height: 25.50 centimetres
Width: 37.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
This is the first of the 'Thirty-Six Views of Mt Fuji' in the present catalogue to be printed with a black, not blue, outline and is one of ten supplementary designs issued after the first thirty-six were completed, the so-called views of the 'back of Fuji' ('ura-Fuji', cats 64-70 and 118-20). Senju was the first post-station on the Nikko and Oshu highways leading north-east out of Edo. Records of the Tempo era (1830-44) say that there were 55 inns and 9556 inhabitants, making it the largest of the four main post-stations ('shishuku') at the beginning of the highways out of the city. In 1764 official permission was given for Senju to employ up to 150 'serving women' ('meshimori onna') as prostitutes, thereby tacitly recognizing its status as one of the leading unlicensed pleasure quarters ('okabasho'). Yoshiwara was still the only licensed quarter ('Edo-gaku jiten', 1984, p. 47).
One of the main reasons for the prosperity of Senju was the large number of northern feudal lords who regularly passed through the district with their long processions of samurai retainers, travelling between Edo and their native domains under the so-called system of 'alternate attendance' ('sankin kotai'). One such procession passes across the front of the composition: the gun-carriers' muskets are sheathed in red cases while the decorated tips of the spear-bearers' weapons are almost hidden behind the trees, bottom left. Passing the roadside tea-stall at the bottom right, where straw sandals are hanging for sale under the eaves, is the back of a palanquin ('kago') which may transport the lord himself. Feudal processions were noted for the dancing gait and colourful antics of the marching retainers, and two women have seated themselves on the raised path through the fields to watch the samurai go by. Crops have already been harvested and the generous coat of snow on Fuji suggests that the season is autumn. The wooden buildings and fire-proof storehouses surrounded by a fence in the background are part of the nine blocks of the Senju pleasure quarter.
An additional impression in the British Museum collection (1906.12-20.0544) uses much paler orange and yellow for the thatch and woodwork of the foreground buildings.
'Ukiyo-e taikei, vol. 13: Fugaku sanju-rokkei', Tokyo, Shueisha, 1975 (text by Kobayashi Tadashi), no. 38.
'Meihin soroimono ukiyo-e, vol. 8: Hokusai I', Tokyo, Gyosei, 1991 (text by Nagata Seiji), no. 15.
Julia White, 'et al.', 'Hokusai and Hiroshige: Great Japanese Prints from the James A. Michener Collection, Honolulu Academy of Arts', Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1998 (commentaries by Yoko Woodson), no. 43.
A feudal lord’s procession marches towards Senju bridge and the highway to the north. Foot soldiers carry rifles in red cloth covers and are followed by spear-carriers. The regimentation of the samurai is contrasted with the relaxed poses of two farming women in the field and townsmen in a roadside shop which sells straw sandals and other travel kit. The buildings in the background at left are Senju’s brothel district, one of five in Edo licensed by the government. This is one of ten supplementary designs added to the series, probably in 1833, with black outlines replacing the earlier blue.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2001, 11 May-29 Jul, BM Japanese Galleries, '100 Views of Mount Fuji'
2017 25 May - 2 July, London, BM, G35, Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave
2017 6 Oct - 19 Nov, Osaka, Abeno Harukas Art Museum
2022 16 Apr-12 Jun, Tokyo, Suntory Museum of Art, Hokusai from the British Museum
- Acquisition date
- Registration number