UTAGAWA HIROSHIGE I (1797-1858)
EDO PERIOD, 1857
A Japanese woodblock prints triptych entitled Buyo Kanazawa hassho yakei (Eight Views of Kanazawa at night, Province of Musashi), published by Okazawaya Taheiji on the 7th month of 1857, with censors' seals for Aratame and Mi Shichi, the left sheet signed Hiroshige hitsu and sealed Ichiryusai, oban tate-e, each approximately 36.5cm x 25.4cm, together with a glazed triptych frame bearing a label for Maple & Co Fine Art dealers dated 10/11/10 (1910). (4)
Provenance: from the collection of G R A Murray and thence by descent.
See the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, access. no.JP3509a-c and Minneapolis Institute of Art, access. no.P.75.51.342a-c for two other examples of this triptych. Also, see Christie's New York, Important Japanese Art, 21st September 2021, lot 36, for another triptych formerly in the Raymond A Bidwell collection.
This triptych belongs to a series created by Hiroshige depicting monumental landscape panoramas and illustrating the concepts of snow, moon and cherry blossoms (setsugekka). The theme comes from this poem written by Chinese writer Bo Juyi (772-846): 'In snow, moon, and cherry blossoms, I think of you'. The full moon occupies the central position in this composition which is reminiscent of another Chinese theme, the 'Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers' (shosho hakkei). Hiroshige also displays his knowledge of Western perspective, with rocky outcrops guiding the eyes towards the horizon. His use of subtle colouring and graduations (fukibokashi) gives this moonlit landscape a painterly character which was popular both for the domestic market and to Western collectors.