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Illustration of Azuma Bridge from Famous Places in Tokyo


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Illustration of Azuma Bridge

from Famous Places in Tokyo

by Utagawa Kunimasa IV, 1888

Kami-no Megumi Wagō-no Torikumi

IHL Cat. #446

About This Print

The artist depicts Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken in front of the Azuma Bridge, possibly for its public opening in December 1887. Whether the emperor and empress ever visited the bridge is unknown. It was not unusual to picture the royal couple in various imagined public settings.

For another print of Azuma bridge see Azumabashi by Utagawa Kunitoshi.

Azuma Bridge

Source: Meiji Revisited The Sites of Victorian Japan, Dallas Finn, Weather Hill, Inc. 1995 p. 145
Azumabashi, built in 1887, was the first metal bridge spanning the Sumida River.  It was officially dedicated and opened to the public on December 9, 1887.   It served the bustling pleasure quarter of Asakusa on one side and a beer factory on the other.  Japanese woodblock artists drew its vertical posts and diagonal eyebars in Western perspective and for good measure populated the walkway with ladies in bustles and the deck with top-hatted gentlemen in carriages.

Period Photos

Photo of Azumabashi, July 1900

Color Postcard of Azumabashi, date unknown

Postcard of Azumabashi, date unknown

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #446
 Title (Description) Illustration of Azuma Bridge from Famous Places in Tokyo
 Azumabashi no zu, Tokyo meisho 東京名所 吾妻橋之図
 Artist  Utagawa Kunimasa IV (1848-1920)
 Signature Baidō Kunimasa hitsu
 Seal  none
 Publication Date February 13, 1888 (Meiji 21); printed on February 10, 1888 
松村新太郎 Matsumura Shintarō [Marks: no reference]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good- trimmed into the image on bottom margin, not backed or joined
 Genre ukiyo-e; meisho-e
 Format vertical oban diptych
 H x W Paper
 14 1/2 x 9 3/4 in. (36.8 x 24.8 cm)each sheet
 Collections This Print
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