Art on Tuesday: Moon Pine

This ukiyo-e was painted by Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川広重 (1797-1858). It is part of his “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” showing the so-called moon pine  上野山内月のまつ.  It is named moon pine because people liked to watch the moon through the loop of the tree from different angles. Moon watching was popular in these days and maybe it is still today.

Another ukiyo-e of the same series is showing the pine tree from a different perspective: here you can see it standing in front of the Kiyomizu Hall beside the Shinobazu Pond in Ueno/Tokyo and can be viewed even today. The picture is called Kiyomizu-do and Shinobazu Pond at Ueno.


Art on Tuesday: Naruto Whirlpools

This very famous ukiyo-e made by Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川 広重 (1797-1858) is called Naruto Whirlpools in the Awa Province (1855). Naruto is located at the Shikoku coast. The Naruto whirlpools 鳴門の渦潮 are a natural phenomenon, which can be watched even today. Utagawa Hiroshige painted another very similar ukiyo-e with wave motifs shown on Japan Kaleidoskop on August 2013.  It is a View of Mount Fuji at Suruga Beach on the Pacific coast of Honshû.

Art on Tuesday: Shin-Ohashi Bridge at Atake

Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川 広重 (1797-1858) painted a Sudden Shower over the Shin-Ohashi Bridge at Atake which is an interesting woodblock print. It is part of his series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo made in 1857.

There is not much happening, but everyone surely knows how a sudden rain shower in summer feels like. See the pitch dark cloud at the sky. The people on the bridge are hiding from the rain under their umbrellas and trying to get as quickly as possible over the bridge. In the background you see a man on a raft-like boat.

The same bridge was also portrayed by Koho Shoda (1871-1946) as a night scene. A totally different atmosphere. See it also in the post of Japan Kaleidoskop of June 2015.

Art on Tuesday: Cherry Blossom Time

A spring scene with cherry blossom trees in full bloom painted by Utagawa Hiroshige I (歌川 広重, 1797–1858). This ukiyo-e gives a good impression of the crowded streets in the pleasure quarters at daytime. Two groups of geishas are entering the street from the right and the left, given shelter from the sunlight by huge umbrellas. Here they are visiting the Yoshiwara district in Edo. This picture is named Cherry Blossom Time at Naka-no-chô in the Yoshiwara 吉原仲の町桜時 as a part of the series Famous places in Edo (source: Museum of Fine Arts in Boston).

Art on Tuesday: Monkey Bridge


This is a woodblock print of the Monkey Bridge 猿槁 in the Kai Province 甲斐國 made by Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川 広重 (1797-1858) in 1841/42. The old bridge is located in the Yamanashi Prefecture and was rebuilt in 1984. You find more interesting pictures of the Sarubashi Bridge here.

Art on Tuesday: Mount Fuji seen across a Ray


Ando Hiroshige’s 安藤 広重 (1797-1858) Mount Fuji seen across a Ray made in 1856. The picture is part of the series Famous Views of the 60 Provinces 六十余州名所図会 showing a Pine Grove at Mio in Suruga Province, located in the centre of Shizuoka Prefecture. Mount Fuji has no snow on top, so it must be in summertime. The lake is painted in beautiful blue shades with tiny sailing ships moving from right to left. There is a little breeze as you can see small waves and the sails are blown. The deep blue color is used as a frame: see the shore of the lake and the sky at the top of the picture. The curves of the clouds surrounding Mount Fuji and the shape of the headland are corresponding in shape. Contrasting  colors of red and green plus the rich blue create a powerful picture.

Art on Tuesday: View of Kônodai and the Tone River


Utagawa Hiroshige I  歌川 広重 (1797–1858) painted The View of Kônodai and the Tone River 鴻の台とね川風景 as a part of his series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo in 1856. Utagawa created an illusion of distance in this scenic picture of a long riverbed. At the right side of the background you find Mount Fuji.  He added also some  lovely details: look at the three people at the cliff line, which gives you a hint of the cliff’s height. This is without doubt a beautiful view.

Art on Tuesday: On the Road


This ukiyo e was made by Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川 広重 (1797-1858) around 1836.
It is named Tsumago, of the series The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kiso kaidô 木曾街道六十九次, number 42. It shows how traveling was like in the old days along the Kiso river valley from Nihonbashi to Kyoto. Metaphorically speaking people are coming and going, each has to carry a different burden and a place to go.

Art on Tuesday: Hanabi Fireworks


Japanese fireworks are nowadays very common in summertime. In the beginning of the Edo period (1600- 1868) they were celebrated by the firework manufacturers Tamaya and Kagiya, who both competed with each other.

You can see the beautiful hanabi 花火, which means flower-fire everywhere in Japan. The summer is hot and humid and if you are sleepless you can enjoy the beautiful spectacle. Hanabi is a symbol of transience as much as the cherry blossom of the spring.


Toyohara Kunichika 豊原 国周 (1835-1900): Fireworks at the Sumida-gawa (left)

Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川広重 (1797-1858): Fireworks at Ryôgoku, 1845 (Edo, today’s Tôkyô) (right top)

Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川広重 (1797-1858): Fireworks at Ryôgoku Bridge, 1854 (Edo, today’s Tôkyô) (right bottom)

Art on Tuesday: Winter Holidays


This is a winter scene by Utagawa Hiroshige painted in 1857 from his series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. Atagoshita and Yabu Lane 愛宕下藪小路. Happy Holidays. I wish you a beautiful holiday season.