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View to the North From Asukayama, No. 17 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

Asukayama, Japan's first public park, was opened in 1737 as an act of piety by the shogun Yoshimune (1684–1751), who ordered the planting of hundreds of cherry trees there to create a pleasant place for popular outings. Into the distance extends a delicate green haze, spreading out to a gray-wash pattern of rice paddies and a blue line at the horizon suggesting the Tone River. Hovering above this all, streaked with thin bands of clouds, is the accentuated outline of Mount Tsukuba.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 5th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Image: 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (34 x 22.2 cm) Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.17
    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.
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Cherry-viewing scene in classic Edo style, where picnickers have spread carpets on the ground and are enjoying the sake and other refreshments. Two men, kimonos tucked up, indulge in an impromptu dance and along the bluff stands an older woman with possibly her grandchild, most likely engaged in sailing small dishes into the wind, an amusement for which this spot was known. Asukayama is a continuation of the northeast facing bluff that began at Ueno (see plate 15). It was Japan's first public park, having opened in 1737 by the shogun Yoshimune. In commemoration of the founding of the nearby Oji Gongen Shrine, Yoshimune ordered the planting of hundreds of cherry trees to create a pleasant space for popular outings. In Hiroshige's time, it ranked with Ueno (pl. 11), Gotenyama (pl. 28) and the Sumida embankment as one of the great cherry-blossom sites of Edo. In 1873, it was officially made into one of the first public parks of Tokyo under the new Meiji government. Over the distance is a green haze spreading out to a gray pattern of rice paddies and above is the outline of Mount Tsukuba.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). View to the North From Asukayama, No. 17 in One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 5th month of 1856. Woodblock print, Image: 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (34 x 22.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.17 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.17_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.17_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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