Edo prints


  Design: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)  
  Title: Above and below Ryōgoku bridge  
  Size: 37.9 x 25.3 cm (ōban)  
  Posthumous printing from newly cut woodblocks    
  Photography: Jacques Commandeur
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Utamaro Above and below Ryogoku bridge (top right)

Enlargement


Originally released ca. 1795-6 by publisher Ōmiya Gonkurō, this version was published around the 1920s by publisher and designer Hashiguchi Goyō (1880-1921) from newly carved woodblocks.

Three ladies are talking and commenting on the scenery below Ryōgoku bridge. On their right we see the paraphernalia of a water seller. These peddlers sold cool, clean water from distant fresh-water springs. This water, which was slightly sweetened, was especially welcome during the hot days of summer.

This is the third print in a spectacular hexaptych of woodblock prints. A simultaneous view of the prints in this hexaptych can be seen here.


Artist’s signature on middle pillar of the railing of Ryōgoku bridge:

Character Reading Meaning Translation
       
uta poem  
麿 maro you Drawn by
hitsu writing brush Utamaro

Black Iwa seal on the same railing as well as rectangular seal of the original publisher Ōmiya Gonkurō containing his name and address: Hon Ōmiya Asakusa Kayamachi.

Red rectangular Goyo publisher seal in left margin of the print.


References


Provenance: Chris Uhlenbeck’s Hotei Japanese Prints

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