[Woodblock Print] THE LAKE AT HAKONE - Hiroshige: Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido Road
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Made in Japan
Artist: HIROSHIGE UTAGAWA
Series Title: Tokaido Gojyusan Tsugi (Fifty Three Stations of the Tokaido Road)
Printing method: Hand printed woodblock print
Paper: Japanese washi paper Echizen Kizuki Bosho by Living National Treasure Iwano-Ichibe
Wood block: Cherry blossom wood
Dimension of artwork: H220mm x W350mm / about H8.75in x W13.75in
Base paper dimension: H335mm x W485mm / about H13.25in x W19in
Includes explanation of artwork in Japanese
Specification of Frame: Frame not included in standard purchase. Please select “with frame” for framed artwork.
Dimension of frame: H350mm x W510mm x th20mm /about H13.75in x W20in x th0.75in
Material of frame: wood + acryl
Weight of frame: 1.3kg / 2.8 pounds
Made in Japan
TITLE: HAKONE KOSUIZU (THE LAKE AT HAKONE)
Crossing the Hakone Mountain was one of the challenging spots on the Tokaido Road. The bulky, rocky surface of the mountain explains the challenge and also attracts the viewer’s focal point. In the distance is peaceful Lake Ashinoko and snowcapped Mt. Fuji, but the disparate travelers (presumably group of servants of a feudal lord traveling back to with the master to his estate) are too occupied to get a glance of the magnificent view.
SERIES: TOKAIDO GOJYUSAN TUGI (FIFTY THREE STATIONS OF THE TOKAIDO ROAD)
Tokaido Gojyu Santsugi is a collection of images from 53 of the posting stations on the Tokaido Road which connected Edo (now Tokyo) and Keishi (now Kyoto). It must have taken about two weeks to complete the journey on foot. Known as the series to make artist Hiroshige Utagawa a star, he harmonizes natural phenomenon and traveler’s sentiment seen throughout the travel, evoking emotions through his pieces which has not been done before him.
ARTIST: HIROSHIGE UTAGAWA
Hiroshige Utagawa is renowned for his scenic pictures, depicted as is yet adding sentiment and seasonality to his works. The indigo blue used in his works is worldly known as “Hiroshige Blue” or “Japan Blue”. He is not only known for his use of beautiful blue hue, but is known to have had influence on European artists such as Vincent van Gough who studied Hiroshige’s works for its composition.
WHAT IS A WOODBLOCK PRINT?
Woodblock print became popular in Japan in the Edo Era (1603-1868). Although it is considered a way of mass producing copies of an art, many craftsman are involved in its process, making its production complex, thus the finished product is recognized as a piece of fine artwork. Historically in Japan, Japanese did not understand its value because, to them, it was too common; not only did it take form of art, the method was also used for books, magazines and advertisements; therefore, many original woodblock prints ended up in Western countries where they took interest in exotic foreign pictures.
PRODUCTION AND ATELIER TAKAHASHI BRAND
The woodblock prints introduced here is from Atelier Takahashi who has been printing the woodblock prints since mid-1850. In producing a single woodblock print, the following people are involved: artist (who draws the “original” and produces the composition), wood plate carver (who delicately carves numerous wood plate in order to achieve the original drawing when printed), and printer (who applies color to the carved wood plate and transfers it to a piece of paper.). Many people only recognize the artist’s name when it comes to woodblock print, but it is the wood plate carver and the printer’s craftsmanship that allows for numerous copies of artist’s work to be distributed. The carver must not transcend the lines drawn by the artist. The printer must layer many colors to achieve the right color and also must precisely overlay the colors so that no spot goes over the drawn lines. The fine craftsmanship of carver and printer is what determines the quality woodblock print as a final product. History of Atelier Takahashi is enough to demonstrate the quality of their craftsmanship: The Second Takahashi was awarded by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 1877, the Third Takahashi was invited to present his printing skills during Prince Arthur’s stay in Japan in 1890, the Fourth Takahashi presented his printing skills to General MacArthur during his term in Japan after World War II. Despite the age of digital printing, the Sixth Takahashi succeeded the name and continues to spread woodblock prints to the world.