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)


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 23-068 of the original publisher Ōmiya Gonkurō containing his name and address: Hon Ōmiya Asakusa Kayamachi. See Marks (2011, p.69).

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


Provenance: Chris Uhlenbeck’s Hotei Japanese Prints

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