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Mitsumata Wakarenofuchi, No. 57 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

Here we look southwest toward Mount Fuji over the widest stretch of the Sumida River, a point where there is both a "fork" (Mitsumata) between the main channel and the Hakozaki Canal in the middle distance and a "dividing pool" (Wakarenofuchi) where tidewater and freshwater part. Perhaps the most revealing aspect of this view is what is not visible but what could not have been absent from Hiroshige's mind. An eight-acre island called Nakazu had been constructed here in the early 1770s precisely where the boats and reeds are positioned. This "Middle Strand" (nakazu) soon became the new pleasure center of the city, with ninety-three teahouses, three bathhouses, and various restaurants. Destroyed in 1789, it was reclaimed by the Tokyo government in 1886.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 2nd month of 1857
    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 Publisher: Shitaya Uo Ei
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.57
    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 looks at the widest stretch of the Sumida River, with a most striking view of Mount Fuji, with black peak and white skirt. This point is where the Sumida River divides in the fork (Mitsumata) between the main channel, which flows under the Eitai Bridge (not visible here) into Edo Bay and the Hakozaki Canal, in the center distance, flowing under the Eikyu Bridge. The island to the left was occupied by daimyo mansions for reasons of defense. "Wakarenofuchi" (dividing pool) is the place where the tide water and fresh water parted in this shallow flat near the mouth of the river. In the past there were teahouses (where the boats and reeds are in this view), in an area known as Nakazu, which thrived until 1789 when it was destroyed by the reformist regime of Matsudaira Sadanobu, as a crackdown on immorality. Today Nakazu is a tract between Kiyosu Bridge and the elevated highway which has replaced the Hakozaki Canal.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Mitsumata Wakarenofuchi, No. 57 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 2nd month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 1/4 x 9 5/16 in. (36.2 x 23.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.57 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.57_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.57_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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