Artist: Ando Utagawa Hiroshige (1787-1858)
Woodblock Prints Title: Temple Gardens, Nippori (Nippori jiin no rinsen), from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Edo hyakkei)
1st Publication: February 1857
Size: Vertical ˘ban; 35.7 x 24.5 cm (14 1/16 x 9 5/8 in.)
Date of this edition: February 1857
Publisher: Uoya Eikichi
Condition: Margins partially trimmed, affecting the seals, else very fine. Excellent colors, impression and overall condition.
Notes: This is an extremely rare first edition, Deluxe edition with Mica in the sky and the hills area. Usually, this technique was reserved for good customer or prestigious people, as the technology was fairly new, expensive and difficult to master. Great print, great colors, visible wood marks from the original block, mica, a real masterpiece from this 100 views of Edo series.
More about this print: In the mid-eighteenth century three Buddhist temples in Yanaka, an area on the outskirts of Edo, entered into a friendly competition of creating unusual gardens to lure visitors from downtown Edo every spring. They became collectively known as the "Flower Temples" or the "Temple Gardens" of Nippori. Hiroshige has depicted one temple, Shūshōin, that was famous for its curious arrangement of artificial mountains and fantastically shaped rocks and trees.
What identifies this scene as that site? Against the right margin, above Hiroshige's signature, is a topiary boat, a well-known attraction of Shūshōin. This telltale clue would have immediately identified the place to an Edo audience.
Pictures: Pictures are taken outdoor, in the shade, to reflect true colors, without any enhancements of any kind. The last picture is taken indoor, with a light behind the print, to reveal the exact paper grain, holes if any, or other possible flaws.