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Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni II (二代目歌川豊国)

Print: Bandō Shūchō I (坂東秀調) standing before a view of the Benten Shrine at Shinobazu Pond at Ueno - from the series Famous Views of the Eastern Capital (Tōto Meisho - 東都名所)

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Dates: created,circa 1830 - 1835
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Artist's seal: toshidama gourd-shaped in red
Publisher: Ezakiya Tatsuzō (Marks 059 - seal 21-092)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Google maps - Shinobazu Pond, Tokyo; Lyon Collection - another print from this series;

Physical description:

Shinobazu Pond

"...Shinobazu Pond in Ueno, is an area that was famous in Edo for its scenic beauty and that in the eighteenth century also happened to be a center of scholarly and literary publishing and print culture. The neighborhood was also known for its many established pharmacies and shops selling trend-setting handicraft items and for numerous "meet up" teahouses where clients could connect with prostitutes. [The two women in this print appear to be married by the way they are wearing their obi.] It was thus an area in which the cultured and the bawdy mingled..."

Quoted from: The Akita Ranga School and The Cultural Context in Edo Japan by Imahashi Riko, pp. 23-24.

From ca. 1830, and a few years after that, various artists - including Kuniyoshi, Toyokuni II and Kunisada - and publishers - including Ezakiya Tatsuzō, et al. - posed figures before aizuri-e backgrounds. This followed the import of the new and dramatic Prussian blue pigment.

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There is another print from this series in the Lyon Collection - #1298.

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There are three other prints from the Lyon Collection which show the Benten Shrine at Shinobazu Pond at Ueno. See #s 1092, a diptych by Sadatora, #1221 by Kuniyasu and #1323 by Shunchō.