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Unformatted text preview: Hokusai
(1760-I849). View of
the Sumida River at
Azuma Bridge, i8oo/
1805. Color woodblock print;
18.8 x 31.4 cm.
13 Ryuryukyo Shinsai
Color woodblock print;22.7 x 35.2 cm.
Collection, 1963.1153. MuseumStudies 85 This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE LURE OF THE WEST 86 MuseumStudies This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE Anything in Chinese style was associatedin
Japanwith China'sTang dynasty (618-90o6),
which exerted strong influence over Japan.
TheJapanese ordkaradenotesboth "China"
and"Tang,"ndthe "Tang ate"of thisprint's
title means simply a "Chinese-style gate."
The Dragon King was a figurefrom Chinese
Buddhist mythology, whose ultimate origins canbe tracedto the Naga kingsof ancient
India.In this print,illustrating story entitled
theJellyfishHas No Bones,"a monkey
ridesa tortoise overthe ocean,awayfrom the
palace of the Dragon King.13 Otohime,
youngest daughterof the Dragon King who
lived in a palace under the ocean, was sick.
Only the liver of a monkey could cure her.
The Dragon King instructeda tortoise subject to cross the ocean, find a monkey, and
trick the monkey into riding on its back to
the palace.This the tortoise did, but, on the
way, they met a weeping jellyfish, who told
the unfortunate monkey why he was being THE taken to the watery depths.Upon his arrival,
the monkey informed the Dragon King that
he had left his liver at home on land, and
received ermissiono retrievet. In Toyoharu's
we see the tortoise bearingthe monkey
homeward. Once there, the monkey naturally refused to go back to the realm of the
Dragon King. When the tortoise returned
and reported the failure of his mission, the
enragedking had the shell and all the bones
removedfromthe jellyfish.Everafter,according to Japanesemythology,jellyfishhavehad
no bones. Uki-e of the lateeighteenthcentury
often illustrate uchfantastic ales.Presumably
the foreignness of the perspectiveenhanced
the otherworldliness of legends from Japanese mythology.
Besides interiors, fanciful renderingsof
far-off places, and illustrationsof myths and
folk tales, uki-e were commonly used in
depictions of actual places in Japan. By the
eighteenth entury, he genre-called meisho-e LURE OF THE WEST LEFTOPFIGURE
14 Utagawa (Ichiryuisai)
c. 1810/30). Picture
of a Dutch Ship
Entering the Harbor
of the Island of
Rhodes, 1820/30. Color oodblock
print; 24.6 x 36 cm.
Gift of Emily
15 Willem J. Blaeu
(Dutch, 15711638).Nova Totius
(detail), 16o6. Ink on
paper; 41 x 55 cm.
Photo courtesy of the
FIGURE Utagawa (Ichiunsai)
View: The Tomb of
King Mausolus in Asia,
c. 1824/25. Color oodblock
print;22.4 x 34.8 m.
Anonymous gift, 1931-795.
MuseumStudies 87 This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE LURE 17
FIGURE Utagawa Kuniyoshi
Night Attack, from
Chushingura, 1831. Color oodblock
print; 26.3 x 37.9 cm.
Kate S. Buckingham
1976.1o8. OF THE WEST o
("pictures f famousplaces," .e., sites known
for scenicbeautyor for literary, egendary, r
historicalconnotations)--had a long history
in Japanesepainting. The perspectiveprint,
with its focus on architecture ndwide-angle
views, was easily appropriatedor this genre;
spective ounda readymarket n Edo.A classic
is RyogokuBridge in Edo:Enjoying
the Evening Cool (fig. io) by Kitao
Masayoshi (1764-1824). One of the most
famous landmarksin Edo, Ryogoku Bridge
spannedthe SumidaRiver.In the foreground
of this beautiful print, dating to the 1790s,
appeara host of small restaurants, hile, in
the middledistance,a boat sets off fireworks that shoot up, ribbonlike, over the bridge.
Takingin the cool air of eveningby the river
are sophisticated Edokko, or "people of
Edo."This print would have interestedboth
residents of Edo and visitors from the
provinces, who would have bought it as a
souvenirof the glamorousmetropolis.
Kitao Masayoshi began his career as a
student of Kitao Shigemasa, to whom the
largepaintingBathhouse nd Laundry(fig. 5)
is attributed. He was also, however, deeply
influenced by the uki-e prints of Utagawa
Toyoharu. roundi80oMasayoshi reated ne
of the most extraordinaryrintsin this genre,
entitledA Pictureof FamousPlacesinJapan.14
Both a map and an almost photographic icp 88 MuseumStudies This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Sun, 29 Sep 2013 20:18:18 PM
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions LITTLE THE LURE OF THE WEST...
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