Tokaido Revisited II
Tokaido Revisited is
a series of composites of various images, each representing a different
woodblock print, or fragment of a woodblock print by the master landscape
artist, Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858), selected from among many different
versions of his original compilation of 55 prints, first published between
1833 and 1834 as 53
Stations of the Tokaido.
As the compiler of these Tokaido
Revisited composites, my intention was to recombine some of
Hiroshige’s magnificent prints along different thematic lines, unrelated
to his original approach of presenting in a linear fashion the 53 stations
along the old coastal road linking Edo (modern day Tokyo), seat of the
Tokugawa Shogunate, with the ancient imperial capital of Kyoto.
The first two themes composed, Tokaido
Snow I and Tokaido
Sails I, were compiled completely from photographs I made of
the five series on exhibit at the Muscarelle exhibit, namely Hoeido,
Upright (Tate-e), Kyoka, Tsutaya (aka Kichizo), and Gyosho. Because
of the difficulty in capturing good reproductions of the original
woodblock prints in the exhibition since those first two compilations were
made, I have relied heavily on the images available on the hiroshige.org.uk
web site (which was kindly suggested to me by the then assistant registrar
of the Muscarelle Museum, Sarah Tew) for the composition of subsequent
web site also provides images of woodblock prints from a number of other Tokaido
editions that were not available at the Muscarelle exhibit but which have
been incorporated in my subsequent composites, namely: Pairs, Reisho,
Jimbutsu, Fujikei, Two Brushes, and Harimaze Zuye. (The Aritaya edition
was not employed by me at all as the images were available only as
thumbnails on the web site.)
Various prints in the
Pairs edition are attributed to two other ukiyo-e woodblock masters in
addition to Hiroshige, namely Utagawa Kunisada and Utagawa Kuniyoshi. I
have attempted to make the proper attributions in the more specific notes
for each of my composites; the interested viewer is encouraged to visit
the wonderful hiroshige.org.uk web
site for more specific information on all of these marvelous prints.
In the images of the
Two Brushes edition, the landscape (generally in the upper part of the
print) is a Tokaido view by Hiroshige while the larger figures in the
foreground are of Japanese legends presented by Kunisada.
Revisited represents a series of 25 composite images covering 18
different themes, namely: bridges, epilogue, ferries, flowers, fords,
horses, kimonos, mists, mountains, rain, sails, snow, stations, station
portraits, travelers and toilers, trees, twilight, and winds.
In the first of two parts of this Tokaido Revisited exhibit, ten of the 18 general themes are presented, namely bridges, ferries, flowers, horses, mountains, rain, sails, snow, stations, and travelers and toilers.
In the second part of the Tokaido Revisited exhibit, 12 of the 18 general themes are presented, namely the epilogue, fords, kimonos, mists, sails (II), stations (II and III), a station portrait (Ishiyakushi), snow (II), trees, twilight, travelers and toilers (III and IV), and winds.
The travelers and toilers theme has been broken into four distinct
composites, each covering a different, successive portion of the Tokaido
road. The first two sections of the road – Edo to Hara and Hara to
Fukuroi – are presented in the first Tokaido
Revisited exhibit, with the last two sections of the road –
Fukuroi to Miya and Miya to Kyoto – being presented in the second Tokaido