Shimada, the Oi River
By Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
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Medium: woodblock, woodcut/woodblock/ukiyo-e
Edition size: n/a
Sheet size: 36 by 24.1 cm
Price: $550 (excl. taxes)
From "Fifty-Three Stations with a Folding Fan".
signed Yoshitoshi hitsu, published by Yamaguchiya Tobei of Kinkodo, combined censor and date seal Uru-go, aratame (, intercalary 5th month, examined)
Images of stations along the Tokaido (lit. 'east sea road') became popular in the early 1830s when a newfound interest in landscape subjects was sparked in part by the publication of Utagawa Hiroshige's (1797-1858) groundbreaking Hoeido Tokaido series (identified by the series' principal publisher, Hoeido). Many of the vantages of that series became iconographic, frequently defining the imagined views of those locations which were subsequently referenced and emulated by other artists and series.
This series, Fifty-Three Stations with a Folding Fan (Suehiro gojusan tsugi), is a processional or go-juraku Tokaido, depicting the pomp and circumstance of a shogun's go-juraku from Edo to Kyoto. Such series came into fashion following the 1863 go-juraku of shogun Tokugawa Iemochi (1846-1866), the first journey by a shogun to Kyoto in 229 years. Iemochi's go-juraku, precipitated by the need to discuss foreign incursion into Japan, would not be the last of the 1860s and prompted the publication of five such series totaling over 300 designs. While this was a collaborative series, Yoshitoshi produced the bulk of the designs. His contributions are perhaps the closest he came to designing landscapes that continue the Utagawa school tradition of referencing the imagery previously established by Hiroshige. In building on that tradition, Yoshitoshi to some extent brought it to a close as the importance of the Tokaido itself and the popularity of the theme waned following the abolition of the shogunate during the Meiji Restoration.