Human-interest Views of the Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô

(Tôkaidô gofusan eki shishuku meisho, 東海道五十三次人物志)

Publisher: Ebi-ya Rinnosuke (海老屋 林之助)

1849

 

This series, consisting of an unknown number of designs, has prominent human figures engaged in daily activities against a landscape representing one of the stations of the Tôkaidô.  It predates Hiroshige’s similar Jimbutsu Tôkaidô.  The prints have censor’s seals and signatures compatible with a date of 1849.  However, the signatures on the drawings indicate that they were created about 1841-1842.  This series is not listed in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints are each about 10 by 14 inches (25 by 36 centimeters), a size known as ôban.

Number: 1

Station: Nihombashi (日本橋)

Scene: Crowds on Nihombashi (bridge)

Number: 2

Station: Shinagawa (品川)

Scene:

 

NOTE: This drawing was never published as a woodblock print.

Number: 3

Station: Kawasaki (川崎)

Scene: Travelers at a river-crossing

This drawing for the above print is courtesy of Jeffrey Pollard.

Number: 4

Station: Kanagawa (神奈川)

Scene: Bearers carrying a traveler in a palanquin

Number: 5

Station: Totsuka (戸塚)

Scene: Travelers eating and drinking

 

I am grateful to Ward Pieters for locating this image.

Number: 8

Station: Hiratsuka (平塚)

Scene: Travelers disembarking from a ferry

Number: 9

Station: Oiso (大磯)

Scene: Drawing of a traveler on horseback stopping to see roadside vendors

The subject, general style, and border with rounded corners suggest that this is related to the above series.  The c. 1841-1842 signature is similar to those on the original drawings, some of which were not publishes with the rest of the series in 1849.  I believe that this is a later printing made from a previously unpublished drawing for this series.  I am grateful to Paul Steier for this image.

 

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