Andō Hiroshige
Yabu-kōji Lane Beneath Mount Atago
1857, 12th month

Signed: Hiroshige hitsu; ōban, 33.5 x 21.5 cm; nishiki-e with fukibokashi;

Print 112 from “One Hundred Views of Famous Places in Edo”. The sky and the water in this extraordinary winter landscape are rendered in shades ranging from light blue to very dark blue (by means of fukibokashi), with the snowflakes standing out in stark contrast. In the background, on the right, is the highest point in the centre of Edo, Atagoyama. The bamboo in the foreground grew near the corner of a daimyō residence; Yabu-kōji, the “lane by the bamboo copse”, is reflected in the name of this compostion.

Louis Gonse, Paris (?); N. Chaikin, Tolochenaz (March 1966)
Riese Collection #176

Yabukoji was the residence of the Katō family who, perhaps because one of their ancestors had fought a tiger in a bamboo grove in Korea in the 16th century, decided to plant this hardly plant along the front of their Edo mansion, giving the street its name, “Little Grove Street”. The stream on the right is the Sakura or Cherry River, the building at the left is the mansion of a samurai, Hijikata Bitchū no Kami.

On the earliest impressions of this print the cartouche is printed in red and yellow, with a sprinkled diamond-shaped pattern rather than the cloud shapes in this impression. The sky in the earliest impressions is a light blue, shading nearly to white just below the hanging tips of the bamboo branches, and not meeting the deep colour on the horizon. There is light shading on this impression of a delicate grey all along the road rather than simply in the lower right-hand corner near the riverbank. Later impressions often lack the deep blue in the river.

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogue, no. 141a.