Artist: Hiroshige AndoTitle: Inside Kameido Tenjin ShrineSeries: 100 Famous Views of EdoDate: Showa era edition printed from recarved woodblocksMedium: Japanese woodblock printSize: oban, 9.8 x 14.75 inches
KAMEIDO TENJIN WAS DEDICATED IN THE EARLY 1660s as one part of the campaign to open the east bank of the Sumida for urban settlement in the wake of the devastating fire of 1657. The shrine was located in the northeast corner of the planned area in order to protect the new development from evil spirits. The dedication to Tenjin, the deified Sugawara Michizane, patron saint of learning and calligraphy, is said to have been inspired by the personal veneration of the shogun Ietsuna, and the shrine always enjoyed strong bakufu support.
The view here is pure scenery with not a shrine building in sight. The arched bridge was one of two such famous taikobashi ("drum bridge", after its rounded shape) in Edo, this one in wood, the other in stone. The Kameido drum bridge is actually a pair of bridges on the approach to the shrine, first the "male bridge" then the slightly smaller "female bridge". Hiroshige has depicted the "male bridge" from the east. He has exaggerated the height of the bridge above the pond, but not its steepness, which one can sense from the figures clinging to the railing as they descend on the right.
Utagawa Hiroshige or Ando Hiroshige (1797-1858) was a Japanese artist during the 19th century and is considered the last great master of the ukiyo-e movement. His approach was more poetic and ambient than the typical ukiyo-e style, and his innovative compositions were a great influence to Western painters, such as Vincent van Gogh. The term ukiyo-e translates to "pictures of the floating world" and refers to a genre of Japanese art with a wide span of imagery such as kabuki actors, folk tales, landscapes, and even erotica. This movement was critical in forming the Western perception of Japanese art.
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