Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1797–1858 Tokyo (Edo))
Edo period (1615–1868)
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
14 3/4 x 10 in. (37.5 x 25.4 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Henry J. Bernheim, 1945
Not on view
The watery views around Lake Biwa (the Omi region) were treated in classic fashion, transposed from the "Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang," a theme in Chinese-style landscape painting since medieval times. In the Eight Views, traditionally, atmospheric scenes—rain, the clearing after a storm—are paired with motifs that take the eye into the distance—returning fishing boats or a line of geese descending to a sandbar. Often a couplet or four-character rendering in Chinese of the traditional title is incorporated into the work. At its best, an Eight Views landscape gives the illusion of time, space and even sound and evokes meditation on the nature of knowing, uniting all the senses in its poetry.
Hiroshige, a consummate master of the effects of weather upon landscape, used the Eight Views theme to produce some of his most beautiful landscape series. The poem in Japanese on this print celebrates the ancient pine at Karasaki.
Signature: Hiroshige ga
Marking: Date seal: snake 3; censor seal: aratame - examined