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Yabu Lane below Atago
Yabu Lane below Atago, 1857
Utagawa Hiroshige I, Japanese
Color woodcut
Ōban tate-e: 14 5/8 x 10 1/8 inches (37.1 x 25.7 cm)
Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., 1946
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Yabu Lane below Atago

No. 112 from the series One Hundred Views of Edo (Meisho Edo Hya kkei)

In this winter scene, people walk along a snow-covered street beside a bright blue stream. Three sparrows flutter about, looking for food. People shelter themselves from the falling snow with hats and umbrellas and leave trails of gray footprints as they hurry on their way. The snow dots the sky and water and weighs down the green bamboo on the right side of the picture, bending its branches.

This print is part of a series of images called One Hundred Views of Edo by the Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige I (ooh-tah-gah-wah he-roe-she-gay). Edo (EH-doh), now called Tokyo, was a large and prosperous city in Japan that is the country’s capital today. This scene depicts the area at the foot of Mount Atago. This place would have been easily recognizable to Edo residents because of the bamboo thicket on the right, which was at the edge of a well-known mansion. The bamboo was thought to protect the mansion’s inhabitants from danger.

Hiroshige, who was born and raised in Edo, was known for capturing the mood and feeling of each place and season. His prints celebrated the beauty of the city and people’s enjoyment of it. Many people collected these works of art because they were beautiful, colorful, and inexpensive—about the cost of a bowl of noodles. You can see the artist’s signature in the red vertical box on the left side of the picture. The two red boxes in the upper right contain the name of the print series (right) and the title of the print (left).

Let's Look

  • Describe the plants, trees, animals, and people you see in this picture.
  • Where might this scene take place? What clues tell you so?

Let's Look Again

  • Describe the mood or feeling of this place. How does the artist get that feeling across?
  • How would it feel to walk along this street?
  • What stories do you think are taking place?

This object is included in Looking to Write, Writing to Look, a teaching kit developed by the Division of Education and is generously supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation Inc.


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