Sakanoshita from the series Tōkaidō Road


Japanese Color Woodblock Print


from the series Tōkaidō Road

by Utagawa Hiroshige II, 1863

Hiratsuka from the series Tōkaidō Road

IHL Cat. #1199

About This Print

Depicting the 48th of 53 stations along the Tōkaidō Road, which connected Edo (modern day Tokyo), where the shōgun resided, to Kyoto, where the emperor resided, the artist shows us two monks seated before a high ranking samurai.  Off to the left we see the distinctive Mount Fudesute, which derives its odd name "from an incident in which the celebrated artist Kano Motonobu [1476-1553] threw away (sute) his brushes (fude) when he could not capture the beauty of the mountain in a painting."1  Perhaps the monks are trying to succeed where Motonobu failed.

About the Series
One of two series of chuban-size vertical prints designed by the artist depicting the stations along the Tōkaidō.  This series, titled simply Tōkaidō Road (東海道), was published by Tsutaya Kichizō (the same publisher who published Utagawa Hiroshige I's famous "Vertical Tōkaidō" series2) between the 8th month of 1863 and the 12th month of 1867, a period of over three years.  It is not known why the publishing period was so extended for these prints.  Hiroshige II's other series, titled Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō (東海道五拾三駅), was issued by the publisher Maruya Tetsujirō in the 10th month of 1865 and is represented by a number of prints in this collection.

1 Rediscovering the Old Tokaido: In the Footsteps of Hiroshige, Patrick Carey, Folkestone: Global Oriental, 2000, p. 49.
2 The formal name of Hiroshige I's "vertical Tōkaidō" series is Famous Sights of the Fifty-three Stations [Gojūsan tsugi meisho zue], published in 1855.

Comparison Between the Series

Utagawa Hiroshige II
 Sakanoshita (坂ノ下)
from the series 
Tōkaidō Road (東海道), 1863
IHL Cat. #1199
Utagawa Hiroshige II
Sakanoshita, Fudesute (坂下 筆捨)
from the series 
Fifty-three Stations of the
Tôkaidô Road (東海道五拾三)駅), 1865
IHL Cat. #520

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Sakanoshita 坂ノ下 (Print no. 49 in the series)
 Tōkaidō Road (東海道)
 Artist Utagawa Hiroshige II (1826-1869)
Hiroshige ga 広重画 (廣重画 as written in cartouche)
 Seal none
 Publication Date
1863 (Bunkyū 3), 8th month

 亥八改 Boar 8 aratame
 Publisher Tsutaya Kichizō [Marks: pub. ref. 556] Publisher's mark does not appear on this print.
 Impression good
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - stray printer's marks lower left of image and lower margin; mounting remnants verso in six spots; thinning top left corner
 Genre ukiyo-e, fūkei-ga
 Format vertical chūban
 H x W Paper 
 9 11/16 x 7 in. (24.6 x 17.8 cm)
 8 13/16 x 6 1/2 in. (22.4 x 16.5 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston RES.54.191.40