Andō Hiroshige
Snow Viewing at Mokuboji Temple
1839 - 1841

Signed: Hiroshige ga; Publisher’s seal: Fuji’okaya han (Fuji’okaya Hikotarō); ōban, yoko-e, 24.8 x 36.4 cm; nishiki-e with fukibokashi

From “Famous Restaurants in Edo”. Shown here is the Restaurant Uekiya near the Mokuboji Temple. The words Kyōku awase (“Competition of Satiric Verses”) and a satirical poem about the restaurant are written in the fan-shaped field next to the box with the series title. Hiroshige is said to have designed this series of 30 prints as advertising for various restaurants, however the even number of 30, and the fact that every print included a humorous haiku, seem to make it more likely that this work was commissioned by a poets’ circle.

John Mellor (Sotheby’s, July 1963)
Riese Collection #163

A boatman delivers a client and two geisha to the Uekiya Restaurant at Mokuboji. This print is from a relatively uncommon series of thirty prints of famous restaurants in Edo. It has often been supposed that the prints were commissioned by the restaurants for publicity, but the even number in the series and the fact that all of them bear a humorous verse, suggests that the set may have been commissioned instead by a gourmandising poetry circle. This seems even more likely when one sees that many prints in the series show amateurs of the arts entertaining themselves. One unprepossessing picture even shows a building with an announcement of a picture exhibition in front.
The poem reads Uekiya te/ tegiwa o tawamuru/ matsu no hana, “The pine tree’s nose pokes fun at the gardener’s skill”. The poem is as brief as it is obscure. “Gardener” or Uekiya is the name of the restaurant. Perhaps the proprietor, snow viewing on the balcony, had a conspicuous nose.

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogue, no. 133.