Hiroshige: River Porters at Station Shimada 嶋田 (Sold)

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Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858)
Title: Station Shimada 嶋田
Series: Fifty-three Stations [of the Tôkaidô Road] (Gojusan tsugi); Also known as the Jinbutsu, or Figure Tokaido 五十三次
Date: 1852

A woman smiles as she stays balanced on the shoulders of a river porter (kawagoshi) as they cross the wide, shallow Oi River. Behind her we see many porters bearing the stone-faced bannermen of the daimyo procession who are being ferried across on raised wooden platforms. The Oi riverbed was more than 3 km across, and more than 500 porters worked the crossing of this river in the mid 19th century. Shimada was the post station on the east bank of the river. Hiroshige produced more than three dozen Tokaido series following the success of the Hoeido Tokaido in 1833. This one is known as the “Figure Tokaido” or the “Mankind’ Tokaido”, as the individuals feature prominantly, rather than being bit players to the landscape as with most of his other Tokaido series.

Dimensions: chûban 24.5 x 17.5 
Publisher: Muraichi
Signature: Hiroshige ga