View from the Sumida River Embankment


View from the Sumida River Embankment
Print   (Part of the set: Nature and Landscape Collection)

O-Edo Mokuhansha

40.80 cm
26.10 cm


Print is Public Domain; Photography is:   Creative Commons License


One design from 'Eight Snow Scenes in the Eastern Capital' (three are included in this set). There is a fabulous story behind this design, one that was completely ignored by O-Edo Mokuhansha, the publisher of this set.

The full story is told on this site, but the core details are summarized this way:

* * *

"Toto Yukimi Hakkei (Eight Snow Scenes in the Eastern Capital), a set of 8 oban prints in an especially designed portfolio (32 x 44 cm) published by Shotaro Sato, Kyoto, 1928, in a limited edition of 100, of which this is numbered 26.

"According to a note by the publisher Mr Sato which accompanies this portfolio, Hiroshige finished and signed the original drawings for this set between 1842 and 1847. They were passed by the censor, but the blocks were never cut, possibly because of the publisher's bankruptcy. Instead the drawings made their way to Europe, perhaps through Dutch traders in Nagasaki, and eventually into the famous collection of M. Emile Javal of Paris, where Mr. Sato found them and was given permission to publish the first edition. The finest wood-engravers, colorists and printers at the time were engaged in the production, following the tradition procedures of Hiroshige's own publishers, in an effort to achieve a standard of woodblock printing which would be worthy of the originals. Indeed, these eight prints do represent a peak of technical skill which it is difficult to believe can ever be reached again. And despite the 80-year gap between conception and execution these can justly be described as first impressions, first states, of a set which embodies some of Hiroshige's finest work."

* * *

The print we are seeing here, is of course a version freshly cut in the post-war period, presumably traced from one of those earlier prints ...

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