Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
View of Futakawa (Futakawa no zu: 二川之図) 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 - published by Moriya Jihei and Sanoya Kihei
Spencer Museum of Art - published by Moriya Jihei
Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna
British Museum - Hiroshige's 'Futakawa Saru-ga-baba'
Virginia Museum of Fine Art
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art - they date their copy to 1836
Google maps - Toyohashi in Aich prefecture Futakawa is now part of the modern city of Toyohashi in Aichi prefecture.
This print is number 34 in this series. Andreas Marks refers to this site as Futagawa, another reading of this name. The curatorial files at the Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna say: "Here, too, Kunisada sticks pretty closely to Hiroshige's model in the landscape depiction. In the foreground he shows a woman in a brown floral kimono with a pipe between her lips. She has gathered up the front part of the robe and tied it with a sash. She wears simple straw sandals (waraji) and legwear. In one hand she holds a stick, in the other a string with another pair of straw sandals hanging on it."
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.
Illustrated in color in 'When two Utagawa masters get together: the artistic relationship between Hiroshige and Kunisada' by Andrea Marks in Andon 84, November, 2008, fig. 3, p. 35.
In Tokaido Landscapes: The Path from Hiroshige to Contemporary Artists, 2011, #34, p. 46, speaking of the original Hiroshige print it says in a text by Sasaki Moritoshi: "...the three women in the foreground. They are blind entertainers known as goze, who make a living by traveling around he country and performing music. There is an air of desolation and severity about them that is worlds apart from a sightseeing excursion the mountains. Yet, there is a teahouse on the left that sells rice cakes that are a local specialty. One imagines that the women will soon enjoy a moment of rest."
In Hiroshige: l'art du voyage, Paris, 2012, p. 82 it says that the restaurant on the left is advertising its specialty, kashiwamochi (柏餅), rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves. Here as in the signage at the Mariko stop, the characters are the same in both the Hiroshige template and in the Kunisada print.
Muneshige Narazaki in Masterworks of Ukiyo-e: Hiroshige, the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō (p. 65) noted: "Just beyond the station lay the broad plain known as Sarugababa. The soil is poor, the trees are stunted, the road across the plain is long; Hiroshige's print gives admirable expression to the desolation of the scene. Here three women musicians are approaching a tea shop whose specialty, according to the sign, is rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves."
Sanoya Kihei (佐野屋喜兵衛) (publisher)
landscape prints (fūkeiga 風景画) (genre)