- Museum number
Object: Nihonbashi (Japan Bridge)
Series: Tokyo junikei (Twelve Views of Tokyo)
Colour woodblock print. Geisha with townscape set in a cartouche. Signed, inscribed and sealed.
- Production date
Height: 38.10 centimetres
Width: 25.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Smith 1994
This is one of the last of the nine subjects Ishii completed from this series, in which he tried to revive in a more modern style the glories of the 'Ukiyo-e' prints of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. In the magazine 'Hosun' for August 1910 he advertised the series, claiming that the co-operative 'Ukiyo-e' print tradition (which had so impressed Westerners) was capable of returning to its old vigour. In the advertisement the first subject (Yoshicho) was illustrated. Like 'Nihonbashi' and all the others in the series, it pairs an unnamed contemporary geisha with a modern Tokyo scene, including in this case telegraph wires, set in a cartouche, the style of the scene being noticeably French. This old 'Ukiyo-e' device of pairing and comparing had been very popular in the late eighteenth century, but Ishii's half-Japanese, half-Western mixture against a blank background attracted few customers and the series was abandoned in 1916 after nine prints had been offered by the publisher and bookseller Takamura Kotaro. Ishii used his friend Igami Bonkotsu (1877-1933) to cut the blocks, which he was unable to do well himself, so that he could keep control over the artistic production of the print in keeping with the ideals of the 'Sosaku Hanga' school. The printing was done by Nishimura Kumakichi. Another subject from the series in the British Museum collection (Asakusa) is illustrated in Smith, 1983, no. 5. Nihonbashi was the point in Tokyo from which distances were measured. Ishii illustrates the Westernised buildings which had grown up near it in the Meiji era (1868-1912).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009 18 Feb-15 Jun, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2012 Feb – Jun, BM Japanese Galleries, ‘Japan from Prehistory to the Present’
- Acquisition date
- Registration number