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Suruga-cho, No. 8 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

What distinguishes Hiroshige's design in this print is its resolute symmetry, softened only by the irregular stylized cloud forms traditionally used in Japanese paintings to separate scenes in pictorial narratives. Here this compositional device focuses attention on Mount Fuji above and the urban bustle below in the street called Suruga-chō. Included in this scene is Japan's premier store, Echigoya, presently Mitsukoshi Department Store, still the most venerable of all the great merchandisers of Tokyo. It is identified by its crest, a circle around the characters for "three" and "well," which together read "Mitsui."

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 9th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 1/2 x 8 5/8 in. (34.3 x 21.9 cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/8 in. (36 x 23.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left edge was trimmed.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.8
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Anna Ferris
    PROVENANCE Prior to 1930, provenance not yet documented; by 1930, acquired by Anna Ferris of Summit, NJ; 1930, gift of Anna Ferris to the Brooklyn Museum.
    Provenance FAQ
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Mid-day scene looking part Edo's premier store, the Echigoya, (today Mitsukoshi Department Store and still the most venerable and most fashionable of all the great merchandisers of Tokyo). The name "Suruga-cho" was taken from the view itself, after the province (today Shizuoka Prefecture) in whose territory the summit of Mount Fuji lay. The circle design repeated along the store is the Mitsui (family name) trademark. Echigoya (the name designating the Mitsui family origins in the province which is now Niigata Prefecture) occupied both corners of Suruga-cho, as seen here from the main Nihonbashi thoroughfare. The store on the left (today the department store, renamed Mitsukoshi in 1904 by taking one character each from "Mitsui" and "Echigoya") dealt in silk fabrics, while the one on the right (today the Mitsui Bank) dealt in nonsilk fabrics. Among the diverse figures in the street are men shouldering large blue packs filled with dry goods ready for delivery. Note the "Genji" clouds (named after their use in illustrated versions of the "Tale of Genji"), one of several cloud forms used in traditional Japanese painting, originally to separate scenes in pictorial narration.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Suruga-cho, No. 8 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 9th month of 1856. Woodblock print, Image: 13 1/2 x 8 5/8 in. (34.3 x 21.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.8 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.8_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.8_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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