Hôeido Tôkaidô Series: Night Snow at Kambara (Second state)Artist(s)Utagawa HiroshigeArtist NationalityJapanese (culture or style)Object Creation Date1833-1834Medium & Supportcolor woodblock print on paperDimensions
8 15/16 in x 12 15/16 in (22.7 cm x 32.86 cm);14 3/8 in x 19 1/4 in (36.51 cm x 48.89 cm);8 15/16 in x 12 15/16 in (22.7 cm x 32.86 cm);9 7/16 in x 14 3/16 in (23.97 cm x 36.04 cm)Credit LineBequest of Margaret Watson ParkerLabel copy
Hiroshige is often considered the master of landscape prints. The Fifty-three Stations of the Eastern Sea Route series, to which this print belongs, made him famous. The Tokaido, or "Eastern Sea Route," stretched from Edo (present day Tokyo) to Kyoto with fifty-three stopping places. Hiroshige's sophisticated use of soft lines, rounded forms, dark sky, and subtle tones convey the utter silence and weariness of the figures, making this one of the artist's finest works.
The Museum owns four impressions of this print, none from the first impression. Variations came from manipulations of the same blocks, depending upon the skill and taste of the printer. In this case, the first impression has a heavily inked area at the upper portion of the sky. Wiping off part of the darker pigment, the printer created the gradation effect. Had the dark sky descended too far, the title would have been covered. The sky appears only in a flat grey that reduces the dramatic effect.
During the second or third impression the printer remedied this effect by moving the heavily inked area to the lower portion behind the hills and trees, creating a far more impressive night scene with a stronger contrast. While the original first impression has sharper lines, the alternative impression is more dramatic for reproduction.
Of the Museum's four prints, 1948/1.122 is the earliest impression, followed by .124 and .123. In the latest version, .125, the troublesome gradations are almost omitted, with the sky appearing only in flat gray. By this time, however, the original blocks were no longer complete, and the footprints totally disappeared, greatly reducing both the snow and night effects.Subject matter
This print is said to be the best in the series, and among Hiroshige's finest work. The scene conveys a sense of silence, and weariness. The villagers hunch under the weight of their loads, the snow and cold, and the night sky.Physical Description
In this print, sophisticated use of soft lines, rounded forms, dark sky, and subtle tones convey the utter silence and weariness of the figures as they trudge through the night-time snow near Kambara.Primary Object Classification Print Primary Object Typecolor printAdditional Object Classification(s)PrintCollection AreaAsianRights
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