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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hiroshige



Views of Kyoto - Merrymaking beneath Maple Trees at Tsuten Kyo
ca. 1835
woodblock print

Hiroshige (1797-1858)
He was a Japanese ukiyo-e artist, and one of the last great artists in that tradition.
He was also referred to as Andō Hiroshige (Utagawa Hiroshige).
In 1856, Hiroshige "retired from the world," becoming a Buddhist monk; this was the year he began his One Hundred Famous Views of Edo.
He died aged 62 during the great Edo cholera epidemic of 1858.
Just before his death, he left a poem:
    "I leave my brush in the East
    And set forth on my journey.
    I shall see the famous places in the Western Land."
(The Western Land in this context refers to the strip of land by the Tōkaidō between Kyoto and Edo, but it does double duty as a reference to the Paradise of the Amida Buddha).