Andō Hiroshige
Snow at Night at Kanbara
1832 - 1834

Signed: Hiroshige ga; Publisher’s seal: Takeuchi (Takeuchi Magohachi); censor’s seal: kiwame; ōban, yoko-e, 24.0 x 36.5 cm; nishiki-e with fukibokashi

Print 16 (station no. 15) from “53 Stations of the Tōkaidō”. The Tōkaidō spans 514 kilometres and is lined by 53 official stations, which - along with Nihonbashi, the point of departure in Edo, and the final station in Kyōto – account for the 55 themes of Hiroshige’s Tōkaidō series. This print, along with Shōno (cat. 211), is one of the masterpieces of the series, expressing the tranquillity and beauty of the winter landscape, on the one hand, and the difficulties and the isolation of the cold season, on the other.

Monnsen, Stockholm; F. Tikotin, La Tour de Peilz (June 1968)
Riese Collection #149

There is no doubt that this is one of the great designs in the Hoeidō Tōkaidō and one of Hiroshige’s masterpieces, but some disagreement exists over which printing is preferable, some people preferring impressions with the sky dark at the top, other with the sky dark at the bottom. Jack Hillier has pointed out, however, in his discussion of two impressions of Kambara in the Gale collection (Gale Catalogue, Vol. 2, no. 261a and b) that on the earliest impressions of the print the engraver had forgotten to clean a bit of wood on the knee of the man at the right. This oversight was quickly remedied, and most impressions have clear knees. The early impression does have the sky darker in a narrow band at the top. More conspicuously, it also has shading of light grey on all the rooftops hut that in the middle. This shading greatly enhances the effect of nightfall.