Muchizuki: travelers in a full moon night

Utagawa Hiroshige
1797 - 1858
Muchizuki: travelers in a full moon night
Woodblock print, nishiki-e
Horizontal ōban, 244 x 368 mm

Publisher: Kinjudō
Censorship: kiwame

Series: Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidô, 26th station - Kisokaidô rokujûkyû tsugi no uchi

Fine early impression with gradation over the moon. Fine colour.
Very slight, unobtrusive central fold and soil in left margin, otherwise very good condition.

Another fine impression of this print is at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (accession number 21.5175).

The series of the sixty-nine views of Kisokaidô, began to be published in 1835 by the publisher Hōeidō with Eisen drawings. In 1837 Hiroshige took over and completed the series with the publisher Iseya Rihei (Kinjudō). The Kisokaido, an alternative highway between Edo and Kyoto, was a mountainous route, far less used than the Tokaido. As a consequence, this series of prints never enjoyed the popularity of the Tokaido sets, and impressions are relatively scarce. But the series contains a number of Hiroshige’s finest prints, especially moonlight scenes, of which this is one of the greatest and most sought-after.


Price on application

Born in Edo in 1797, Hiroshige whilst still a teenager, was allowed to work in the studio of Utagawa Toyohiro, an artist with a preference for classical and landscape subjects. He studied also Nanga painting under the artist Ooka Umpo. In the 1812 he adopted the name Hiroshige. The first prints to be published under this name were images of beautiful women, a few surimono and landscapes in small format. In 1831 Hiroshige designed a successful series of Sights of Edo. In 1832 he accompanied the annual procession from Edo to the emperor in Kyoto along the Tokaido. During the journey, he sketched the scenes which he later put into the fifty-five prints which made up the celebrated series of views of the fifty-three post stations on the route. The series was revolutionary, the scenes had a naturalness and sense of immediacy that provoked instant popular appeal. This established Hiroshige as the painter of Tokaido scenes and, subsequently, he produced some thirty series on the same theme. Many highly successful landscape series would follow such as the Sixty-nine Stages on the Kiso Highway, the One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, the Thirty six Views of Mount Fuji. In his declining years, in addition to landscapes, he created an unique style in depicting birds and flowers.

Other works of the master