Kyosai

Kawanabe Kyosai

1831-1889

The Tokaido [Processional Tokaido]: Mount Akiba
(Tokaido no uchi [Gojoraku Tokaido]: Akibasan)

signed Oju (by request) Chikamaro, with publisher's seal Tsukiji, Daikin (Daikokuya Kinnosuke), and combined censer and date seal i-go aratame (year of the boar [1863] 5th month, examined), 1863

oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 10 in., 37.3 by 25.5 cm

In 1863 twenty-four publisher's and sixteen artists produced a total of 162 designs for an ambitious collaborative series to commemorate the historic journey of Shogun Tokugawa Iemochi (1846-1866) from Edo to Kyoto for the purpose of visiting the Emperor Komei (1831-1867). It was a command performance: alarmed by the encroachment of foreigners pushing for access to Japan's ports and unrestricted trade, the Emperor sent an envoy to Edo the previous year with a message requesting (demanding) that the shogun and all the daimyo come to Kyoto to discuss how expel the barbarians at the proverbial gates. The procession included roughly 3,000 foot soldiers, cavalry and gunmen, and took approximately 20 days. It was the first such visit by a shogun to the Imperial court in 229 years, and one of the last displays of shogunal pomp and presence of the Edo period before the feudal system was dissolved and Emperor Meiji was restored to practical Imperial rule in 1868.

The series was variously titled on the prints: Tokaido no uchi (The Tokaido), Tokaido meisho no uchi (Famous Sights along the Tokaido), or Tokaido meisho fukei (Famous Landscape Sights Along the Tokaido) and on the two different table of contents that were issued (the first incomplete): Tokaido gojusan tsugi zue (Assemblage of pictures of the Fifty-Three Stations Along the Tokaido). Given the inconsistencies of the titles, the series is collectively known as Gojuraku Tokaido (The Processional Tokaido), and was one of the largest collaborative ukiyo-e series ever produced. In this case the series title in Japanese reads Tokaido meisho no uchi (Famous Sights along the Tokaido).

Kyosai contributed 28 designs to the series, sometimes signing with his go (art name) Chikamaro, which he stopped using in mid-1863.

References:
Andreas Marks, When the Shogun Travels to Kyoto: The Great Processional Tokaido Series, in Andon 81, Society for Japanese Arts, 2007, cat. no. 27A (73)
Kawanabe Collection Catalog, Kawanabe Kyosai Memorial Museum, 2008, p. 29, no. 734
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession nos. 11.16606; 11.44795; 11.44868; 2009.5009.74

(inv. no. C-3383)

price: $450

kikumon

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