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Utagawa Hiroshige

Print, woodblock

Donated by Mrs A.P. Mathewson, 1914
Museum number 1914-178-41

This print is part of the landscape series 'The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido'. During the Edo period the Tokaido Road, which linked the new capital Edo with the old capital Kyoto, was the route of an annual delegation by the shogun government to pay homage to the Emperor and legitimise its rule. Several ukiyo-e artists produced prints of the fifty-three recognised halting places along the Tokaido Road. Several versions were created by Utagawa Hiroshige, this print being from the Hoeido edition, which was produced in the early 1830s.

The figures in this print are the main focus for our attention and the scene unfolding shows Hiroshige’s sense of fun. Female touts are depicted dragging travellers into the teahouse on the right, where one is already resting. This station was lined with many inns and restaurants and the waitresses were renowned for their persistence in trying to entice customers into their shops.

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