Hiroshige: First Edition of Spiral Hall 広重, Five Hundred Rakan Temple 五百羅漢つらね堂 $17,000

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Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige 広重 (1797-1858)
Title: First Edition of Spiral Hall, Five Hundred Rakan Temple (Gohyuaku Rakan Sazaidô) 五百羅漢つらね堂
Series: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Meisho Edo Hyakkei
Date: 1857

First, or Deluxe edition of this lovely bird’s eye view, complete with the two-color cartouche and all the extra bokashi (shading) that gives dimensionality to the scene and the deluxe mica that has been applied to the roofs of the hall and to the path below. Visitors enjoy the splendid view over the bright green fields on the eastern fringe of Edo. They would have just finished the condensed, mini-journey offered by this unusual building, which replicates three separate 33-Kannon pilgrimages in a spiral formation. Hiroshige’s famous diagonals and foreground cropping are evident in this design, although with more subtlety than some other works from this series. In the distance we see the lumberyards and buildings along the Tatekawa canal.

Scarce in this first edition.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. From the First, or Deluxe Edition. With an overlapping strip of margin from another print, right side and hinging remnants in corners of verso.
Dimensions: ôban 36 x 23.8 cm
Publisher: Uoya Eikichi
Literature: Henry Smith II: Hiroshige One Hundred Famous View of Edo: plate 66. See Brooklyn Museum and Minneapolis Institute of Art, Harvard Art Museums, Honolulu Museum of Art (1st edition).
Seal: Aratame and the year seal snake (1857) 8
Signature: Hiroshige ga

Price: $17,000