Yokohama Boomtown Image Gallery / Y0125_India_Woman
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Shoga gojūsan eki: Musashi Kanagawa Yokohama chōbō

Title: Painting and Calligraphy of Fifty-Three Stations: Distant View of Yokohama and Kanagawa in Bushū (Modern Musahi Province)
Artist: Yoshimori (1838-1884)
Format: Woodblock print
Medium: Ink and color on paper
Dimensions: 35.9 x24.2 cm (14 1/8 x9 1/2 in.)
Source: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

The inscription in Chinese characters at the upper right reads: The wind sends flags and sails in brocade waves, revealing copper masts and iron hawsers. It stops in the distance, in the inlet of the bay. We hear news of its name and its signal fires, and know that a steamship approaches the harbor. The title of Yoshimori's print refers to the fifty-three stations along the Tokaidō, the eastern highway linking Edo and Kyoto. Kanagawa, one of those stations, lay directly across the bay from Yokohama. From that vantage point, the prosperous town of Yokohama with its substantial Western-style buildings is illustrated in the distance. Dominating the scene is the figure of a woman, portrayed with studied attention to details of light and shadow that reflects the artist's awareness of Western wood engravings or other pictorial sources. Her image may in fact be derived from a figure in the foreground of an illustration of India published in the Illustrated London News. Combining elements of traditional Japanese art with an exceptionally successful reproduction of a Western artistic model, the print presents a striking if somewhat disconcerting visual effect. [Adapted from Ann Yonemura, Yokohama: Prints from Nineteenth-Century Japan]

Visualizing Cultures image number: Y0125

Keywords: Kanagawa, Yokohama, ships, Tokaidō, India. Illustrated London News, art influences from the west

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2014 Visualizing Cultures