Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
View of Mitsuke (Mitsuke no zu: 見附ノ図) from the chuban series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road (Tōkaidō gojūsan tsugi no uchi: 東海道五十三次之内)
7 in x 9.75 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Kōchōrō Kunisada ga (香蝶楼国貞画)
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei
Censor's seal: kiwame
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
National Diet Library
Spencer Museum of Art
British Museum - Hiroshige's version
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna
Mead Art Museum
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art - they date their copy to 1836
Honolulu Museum of Art
Google maps - Iwata in Shizuoka prefecture Mitsuke is now part of modern Iwata in Shizuoka prefecture.
This is print number 29 in the series. The curatorial files at the Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna say: "In the landscape depiction, Kunisada largely sticks to Hiroshige's model, but changes the posture and appearance of the two men on the boat in the foreground, which suits the composition of the picture with the woman in the foreground. The woman wears a magnificent coat (uchikake) with various floral motifs in a circle on a blue background (with waves). Somewhat unusual, she tied the coat with a simple one-colored bow."
Kunisada's chuban Bijin Tokaido (東海道美人) series was first published around 1833, after Hiroshige's famous series was underway but not yet complete.
Gian Carlo Calza in his description in Hiroshige: The Master of Nature of the original Hiroshige print re-imagined in this scene said: "The current of the Tenryū River was too strong to be crossed by porters and so flat-bottomed river boats were used. This print represents the full expression of the master's spontaneous and naturalistic style. Two boatmen in the foreground watch the last samurai in the daimyō's retinue move off across the sandbar to the next channel-crossing against the fog-shrouded background."
In Tokaido Landscapes: The Path from Hiroshige to Contemporary Artists, 2011, #29, p. 41, speaking of the original Hiroshige print it says in a text by Sasaki Moritoshi (佐々木守俊): "In contrast to the on-foot crossings of the Abe and Ōi rivers, the Tenryū River was crossed by boat."
According to Hiroshige: l'art du voyage, Paris, 2012, p. 79 small amounts of gold dust could be found on the banks of this river.
Muneshige Narazaki in Masterworks of Ukiyo-e: Hiroshige, the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō (p. 59) noted: "The Tenryū was so swift flowing that it could only by boats. Here travelers wait on a sandbar in the middle of the river to embark; the east side was always called Big Tenryū, the west side Little Tenryū. Mitsuke appears in literature as fare back as 1227, when abutsuni wrote an account of her journey to Kamakura and mentioned that she found Mitsue a very desolate place. Hiroshige seems to have expressed something of the same feeling, judging by the mist with which he has shrouded the far bank."
In Tōkaidō Texts and Tales: Tōkaidō gojūsan tsui by Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, and Kunisada on page 98 it says of another print designed by Hiroshige: "Traveling fromthe capital to Edo, of first catches sight of Mount Fuji at this station, and for this reason the place is named Mitsuke '"Catching Sight Of." "
Mitsuke was known for its eels, catfish and snapping turtles.
Sanoya Kihei (佐野屋喜兵衛) (publisher)
landscape prints (fūkeiga 風景画) (author)