Suidō Bridge and Surugadai No. 48

Title: Suidō Bridge and Surugadai (Suidōbashi Surugadai), No 48 from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo 
Creator: Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797-1858)
Medium: Woodblock print on paper
Dimensions: H x W 35.6 x 24 cm 
Collection: Freer Gallery of Art  
Accession Number: F1996.24

In this image, three large carp banners fly over the city of Edo Surugadai, a metropolis of samurai households. The light pink color on the horizon indicates it’s early morning and small figures can be seen walking along the river, perhaps beginning the day’s activities. The carp banners are traditionally hung for Boy’s Festival, on the fifth day of the Fifth Month. Each banner blows in a slightly different direction, showing that they are catching the morning breeze at different times. The frontmost carp stands out in the sharpest detail because of its thick shaded scales and bright blue eye. The symbol of the carp comes from the Chinese legend of the fish using its strength to leap up waterfalls. This metaphor was considered analogous to the challenges boys face when becoming warriors and could give some insight into the use of this print. 


National Museum of Asian Art:

Suidō Bridge and Surugadai (Suidōbashi Surugadai), No. 48 from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo:

Author: Alice Bates

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