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Sanno Festival Procession at Kojimachi l-Chome, No. 51 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

Hiroshige here depicts the Sannō Shrine Festival at the symbolic moment when the festival procession enters Edo Castle from the Kojimachi quarter at the very center of the city. The entire procession, which occurred between the tenth and sixteenth days of the sixth month, consisted of more than fifty large and lavishly decorated floats, of which Hiroshige provides only a hint. The two floats here come from two of the city's oldest commoner districts. The float in the distance represents a monkey, while the one in the foreground is an ornamental rooster perched on a large legendary Chinese "drum of admonition" that sage-kings used to summon and chastise their subjects.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 7th month of 1856
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Sheet: 14 5/16 x 9 5/16 in. (36.4 x 23.7 cm) Image: 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (33.9 x 22.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left margin was trimmed. Seals in top margin: date seal and censor seal.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.51
    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 This scene depicts part of the grand festival of the Sanno Shrine. The entire procession consisted of more than fifty large floats, some more than thirty feet high and all lavishly decorated at the expense of the sponsoring parishioners, who are shown wearing flowered hats. The midsummer sun beats down on the blue waters of Benkei Moat and on the high embankment along the southwest side of Edo Castle. In the distance, the festival procession enters the castle grounds from Kojimachi I-chome through Hanzo Gate. From there, it will pass under the personal review of the shogun himself at Inui Gate, an honor shared only by the Kanda Myojin Shrine festival, with which the Sanna festival alternated every year after 1681; the two together were known as the Tenka Festival, "Tenka" (All Under Heaven) being an honorary title for the shogun himself. The float in the distance, that of Minami Denmacho, represents a monkey, messenger of the Sanno god, wearing a gold "eboshi" cap and silk ceremonial gown with a sword in the sash and holding a wand of sacred gohei. In the immediate left foreground is the float of Odenma-cho, the so-called Drum-Bird, a large model of an ornamental rooster with outstretched wings (only the tip is shown here) on a large ceremonial drum. In Japan, the drum symbolized a well-ruled country where its use was no longer required. Historically, the Drum-Bird always led both the Sanno and Kanda Myojin processions, but Hiroshige re-arranged the floats to his own preference.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Sanno Festival Procession at Kojimachi l-Chome, No. 51 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 7th month of 1856. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 5/16 x 9 5/16 in. (36.4 x 23.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.51 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.51_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.51_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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