Hiroshige: Station Arai from the Figure Tokaido

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Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858)
Title: Station Arai  新居宿 (荒井)
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 charming, closeup view of a variety of passengers on the ferry that carried Tokaido travelers between station Arai and station Maisaka. We see  a dozing priest and older woman, a man stretching and yawning, and a woman contentedly taking in the scenery. Their travel bundles are stacked next to them. Arai, station number 31, was located on the western shores of Lake Hamana. Travelers would take a ferry boat to cross the lake to reach Maisaka. 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 prominently, rather than being background players to the landscape as with most of his other Tokaido series.

Dimensions: chûban 24.5 x 17.5 
Publisher: Muraichi
Signature: Hiroshige ga
Literature: See the Art Institute of Chicago online, MFA.
Condition: Very good impression, color and condition. Some scattered stains. Backed.