53 Stations of Tokaido – Yoshida

Title: 53 Stations of Tokaido
Secondary Title: Yoshida
Creator: Ando Hiroshige
Date: 1841 – 42
Repository: Connecticut College
Medium: Ink on Paper
Work Type: Color Woodcut

Description: Four people walking on a bridge that spans a river with temples, boats, and mountains in the background. The temple is located near the top of the mountain, with a small village and house at the bottom of the hill, lining the river. In the river, there are two sailboats and one canoe with a person paddling. The dominant color in the painting is blue, with some red, beige, and black used to add detail to clothing, houses, boats, and the sky.

Analysis: This print was created towards the end of the Tokugawa/Edo period in Japan, when there was a heavy focus on landscapes and cityscapes in Japanese art. This painting could be read as a comparison between those two themes, contrasting a bustling city life with the serenity of nature. The red in the sky is also interesting to note – In a Western artistic interpretation, this might be viewed as foreboding or apocalyptic, but in Japanese art, red symbolizes protection and good fortune, so a red sky might shield the temple and people of Tokaido from harm.


Image reference: https://oak.conncoll.edu/visual/asian-art/Caroline%20Black%20Collection%20of%20Japanese%20Woodcuts/content/_8569704222_large.html
Connecticut College Japanese Prints Collections inventory: https://oak.conncoll.edu/visual/asian-art/Caroline%20Black%20Collection%20of%20Japanese%20Woodcuts/index.html

Author: Campbell Coughlin

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