Collection online

painting / handscroll

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Painting, handscroll. Scenes at fire: firemen dousing down last small pockets of flames and helping citizens to salvage belongings from ruins of homes. Ink, colour and gold on paper. Signed and sealed.

  • Producer name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1868-1872 (?)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 26.7 centimetres
    • Width: 406 centimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

        Ichiunsai giga
      • Inscription Translation

        Painted for amusement by Ichiunsai
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Script

      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Transliteration

  • Curator's comments

    Clark 1992

    Though the technique on paper is more spontaneous than Kunitoshi's fire scenes on silk (no. 165), it seems likely that this handscroll depicts the aftermath of the same fire in the early Meiji era. Here firemen are seen dousing down the last small pockets of flames and helping citizens to salvage what they can from the ruins of their homes. The thick-walled storehouses, however, seem to have escaped largely unscathed, and at the end of the scroll, auspiciously, can be seen the beginning of a row of undamaged houses the firemen have managed to save.

    Assuming that the dating of c. 1868-72 suggested by Ikegami Akihiko is correct, then it suggests that artists were very quick to exercise new freedoms after the downfall of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868 and the concomitant demise of the laws restricting the reporting of contemporary events. Alongside the decorative virtuosity of the treatment of the flames (using cut gold leaf no less), which might be seen as a more purely traditional element, Kunitoshi adapts old techniques in a new way to convey a keen impression of the confusion of muddy debris that is altogether more reportorial in character than paintings of the Edo period.

    '(Hizo) Ukiyo-e taikan' ('Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections'), ed. Narazaki Muneshige. Vol. 1, Tokyo, Kodansha, 1987, BW nos 65-7.Asahi 1996




  • Bibliography

    • Asahi 1996 100 bibliographic details
    • Clark 1992 166 bibliographic details
    • Hizo Ukiyo-e taikan Vol 1 BW 65-67 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Anderson No. 2047 (annotation in Anderson 1886)
    • Jap.Ptg.1591 (Japanese Painting Number)
Painting. Street scene. Scene of a fire.


Painting. Street scene. Scene of a fire.

Image description



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Object reference number: JCF2674

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