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Akasaka Kiribatake, No. 52 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

The place name "Kiribatake," or "Paulownia Fields," in Hiroshige's day referred to a stretch of land along the southern shore of Tameike ("Storage Pond"), an elongated reservoir that formed part of the outer moat of Edo Castle at centrally located Akasaka. In this view, Tameike curves northward in the distance with lotus plants scattered through the shallow, swampy water. Two paulownia trees dominate the foreground. Planted in the early eighteenth century, they were most likely intended as a decorative way to prevent erosion.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 4th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 5/16 in. (36.2 x 23.7 cm) Image: 13 1/2 x 9 in. (34.3 x 22.9 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS No publisher's seal visible. Probably lost when left margin was trimmed.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.52
    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 "Kiribatake" referred to the stretch of land along the shore of the "storage pond" (tameike), a reservoir which formed part of the outer moat of Edo Castle - today replaced by Sotobori-dori ("Outer Moat Avenue") from Akasaka-Mitsuke to Toranomon. Here lotus plants grew, scattered through the shallow, swampy pond. In the foreground are two paulownia trees with their gigantic leaves which were reported to have been planted here in the early eighteenth century and were probably intended as a decorative way to prevent erosion. On top of the hill at the left is the Sanno Shrine whose festival was depicted in the previous print. The trees on the hill are in green printed over black with additional black over-printing on some of the trunks. The sky suggests a passing thundershower, very dramatic with a "baren" pattern printed over blue.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Akasaka Kiribatake, No. 52 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 4th month of 1856. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 5/16 in. (36.2 x 23.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.52 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.52_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.52_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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