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Utagawa Hiroshige, 1797-1858
One Hundred Famous Views of Edo: Great Bridge at Senju
(Meisho Edo hyakkei: Senju no Ohashi)

signed Hiroshige ga, published by Sakanaya Eikichi (seal partially trimmed), with censor's seal Aratame and date seal tatsu-ni (year of the dragon [1856], 2nd month)
oban tate-e 14 1/4 by 9 1/2 in., 36.3 by 24 cm
The bridge depicted in this composition was called the Great Bridge, as it was the only one to cross the Sumida (locally known as the Senju) River for the first seventy years of the Shogunate's control over Edo and the surrounding provinces. It was the policy of the first Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616) that no bridges should be erected connecting connecting the city to potential adversaries to its north. However, the Great Bridge was too great a commercial and social lifeline for it to be taken down. Powerful daimyos and merchants crossed the bridge daily, and the Shogun himself used it to visit the graves of his ancestors at Nikko. The bridge would live up to its name, surviving for three centuries before finally being destroyed in a flood in 1885. This is a remarkable longevity for a wooden bridge, even one which, as one can see in this depiction, was solidly constructed.
Hiroshige: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1986, cat. no. 103
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (, from the Spaulding Collection, accession nos. 11.2208, 11.16727, 21.10441, and 21.10442
price: Sold