Hiroshige: Station Shono from the Figure Tokaido

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Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858)
Title: Station Shono
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 steps onto the porch that overlooks a courtyard garden. She must be at an inn that catered to travelers, and she probably has just emerged from a bath. Her companion is sitting for a massage by a blind masseur, who is working on her shoulder with his elbow. We see a tea tray with two cups at right, and we see a waitress bringing a lamp into an adjoining room, where we glimpse another guest seated on the floor. In yet another realistic touch we see straw traveling sandals on the ground beneath the porch. 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. Backed.