Edo prints


  Design: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)  
  Title: Above and below Ryōgoku bridge  
  Size: 38.3 x 25.2 cm (ōban)  
  Posthumous printing from newly cut woodblocks    
  Photography: Jacques Commandeur
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Utamaro Above and below Ryogoku bridge (bottom middle)

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 seen aboard a yakebune (i.e., roofed pleasure boat), the one standing in the middle apparently looking out for another boat, the one on the right holding up her empty sake cup for a refill. The scenery unfolds with a downstream view of Sumida river showing the boat sheds of the shōgun on the left (i.e., east bank) of the river.

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


Artist’s signature at the bottom of the large grey pillar of Ryōgoku bridge on the right:

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

Black Iwa seal as well as rectangular seal of the original publisher Ōmiya Gonkurō containing his name and address (Hon Ōmiya Asakusa Kayamachi) on the yellow hull of the yakebune.

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


References


Provenance: Chris Uhlenbeck’s Hotei Japanese Prints

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