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A View of Kambara, from the series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido

A View of Kambara, from the series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido

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Utagawa Kunisada

To capitalize on the immense success of Utagawa Hiroshige’s The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road, print artists and publishers produced many variations based on his landscape series. Kunisada designed a series that directly copied Hiroshige’s landscapes as backdrops for his popular pictures of beautiful women. This design utilizes one of Hiroshige’s most celebrated compositions, Kambara. Even though the print does not contain Hiroshige’s signature, the background design is an obvious copy of the artist’s work. In A View of Kambara, an elaborately dressed courtesan rides a black ox. This unusual pairing of beauty and beast is a visual reference to Benzaiten, the goddess of wealth and good fortune, who is often portrayed seated on an ox.
Artist
Utagawa Kunisada
(Japanese, 1786 - 1864)
Title
A View of Kambara, from the series The Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido
Date
ca. 1838
Medium
Color woodcut
Dimensions
259 x 187 mm Overall
Credit
Bequest of John H. Van Vleck
Accession No.
1980.2617
Classification
Prints
Geography
Japan

Related

1929, purchased from Matsuki (Kyoto, Japan) by Edward Burr Van Vleck (Madison, WI); 1943, passed through inheritance to Edward’s son, John H. Van Vleck (Madison, WI); 9 January 1980, bequeathed by John H. Van Vleck to the Elvehjem Museum of Art [now called Chazen Museum of Art]

  • Mueller, Laura. "Competition and Collaboration: Japanese Prints of the Utagawa School." Leiden, The Netherlands: Hotei Publishing, 2007. p. 163, no. 145

  • Competition and Collaboration: Japanese Prints of the Utagawa School: Chazen Museum of Art, 11/3/2007-1/6/2008

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