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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)

Identifier: 1831c Toyokuni II actor

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.


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


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.

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