Leaving Island

Title: Leaving Island
Artist: Hiroshige Ando
Date: 1840-1843 (天保11年-13年)
Repository: Wetmore Print Collection, Art History Dept, Cummings Arts Center, Connecticut College, New London 
Size: 22 x 35cm
Material: ink on paper

This print was created by Hiroshige Ando around 1840-1843. At Fujisawa Ukiyo-E Museum, this painting is noted as “Sagami Enoshima Nozu”; on Artstor and inventory is “leaving island”. According to some documents, this painting describes the view of Enoshima (江の島, an island in Japan). Whereas I would call this work “isolating” since only one road connects the island and mainland, people are gathered on this road, either coming or leaving; some are families, some are merchants, etc. It shows the aurora scene of the island that we can see the reddish skyline. The dark blue sky on the top of the painting contrasts with the sky at the bottom, bright and clear. 

Japan’s woodblock printing was created in the Edo period due to social status, seclusion, and other issues. Woodblock printings represent human’s lives in different ways, like figures, cityscapes, landscapes. They are at a low price that everyone can afford it. More landscape prints were created since a large number of people can’t travel themselves. The “leaving island” is undoubtedly in realism; three adults are wearing blue kimonos, one kid of red. They look like a family, trying to leave the island. Even though we can’t see the faces of those people at the back, we can tell that they are doing different things with various identities. “Leaving island” has some common characteristics of all Japanese printings, whereas also using a unique way to express this island.

Connecticut College Japanese Prints Collections inventory.

Ando, Hiroshige. Artstor, https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/CONNASIAN_106310758460;prevRouteTS=1632692795882. 

Connecticut College Asian Art Collections

Fujisawa Ukiyo-E Museum

Author: Aoye Yuan

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