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Moon-Viewing Point, No. 82 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Utagawa Hiroshige

Asian Art

Scholars have identified this as a scene in one of the many brothels or inns in the settlement of Shinagawa. Through the open window appears the harvest moon rising serenely in the autumn sky. In contrast to the fullness and perfection of the view outside, the scene within is one of incompletion and indirection. Beneath a lantern on the tatami mat lie the leftovers of a meal. At the very margins of the scene are two half-hidden figures. To the right is a geisha; the tip of a lute-like samisen and its box hint that she is about to leave. To the left, as indicated by the elaborate hairstyle, is a courtesan. The garment slipping onto the tatami suggests she is preparing for bed.

MEDIUM Woodblock print
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES 8th month of 1857
    PERIOD Edo Period, Ansei Era
    DIMENSIONS Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm) Image: 13 3/8 x 8 3/4 in. (34 x 22.2 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS No publisher's seal visible, probably lost when left margin was trimmed. Date seal and censor seal at top margin.
    SIGNATURE Hiroshige-ga
    ACCESSION NUMBER 30.1478.82
    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 In contrast to the serenity of the autumn moonlit night depicted in the distance, the scene inside shows the leftovers of an evening of entertainment. Uneaten sashimi lies in an imari-ware dish on a lacquer tray; at left is a sake cup in a washing bowl, a half opened fan, a tobacco pouch, pipe case, a smoking set with a charcoal lighter, and two used towels. In the foreground of the veranda are a pair of chopsticks, two sake flasks, and a low lacquer table with a bowl. At the right one can see the tip of a shamisen and its box, indicating that a geisha is packing up to leave. At left, discerned only from the shadow of her elaborate hair style, is a courtesan who might be preparing for bed. The customer is not visible; he might have stepped out for a bath. The actual location is a matter of dispute, but it appears to be in one of the many brothels or inns in the Shinagawa settlement. There is a Hiroshige illustration in a "kyokai" verse anthology (Kyoka Edo Meisho Zue, 1856), published one year earlier, which depicts the same scene as this print, except that the banquet is still in progress and it includes the guest, two geisha, a male entertainer, and the courtesan.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858). Moon-Viewing Point, No. 82 from One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, 8th month of 1857. Woodblock print, Sheet: 14 3/16 x 9 1/4 in. (36 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Anna Ferris, 30.1478.82 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 30.1478.82_PS20.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 30.1478.82_PS20.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2023
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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