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Open Access

Oshu sotogahama

Soto Beach in Mutsu Province
From the series “One Hundred Famous Places in the Provinces (Shokoku meisho hyakkei)"
Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige II (aka 二代目歌川広重) (1826 – 1869)
Date: 1859
19th century
Dimensions: 10.24 x 14.96 in. (26 x 38 cm)
Dimensions Extent: sheet
Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Asia, Japan
Medium and Support: Woodblock print on paper
Credit Line: Museum purchase, 2017
Accession Number: 2017.02.01
This work is not currently on view

The artist known as Hiroshige II (born Suzuki Chinpei, and later known as Shigenobu) took this title upon the death of his master and father-in-law, the more famous Utagawa Hiroshige, in 1858. Only relatively recently have scholars learned to distinguish between his work and the earlier Hiroshige, as Hiroshige II imitated his master’s style and subjects. Hiroshige, for example, was well known for a series of prints entitled One Hundred Famous Views of Edo; Hiroshige II, in turn, produced a series entitled One Hundred Famous Views in the Various Provinces. This print formed part of this series. It depicts part of the coastline on the northern tip of the main Japanese island of Honshu, today in Aomori Prefecture.

Like his master, Hiroshige II formed part of the Utagawa school of woodblock printers, who worked in the artistic genre known as ukiyo-e or the “floating world.” Ukiyo-e prints featured a broad variety of subjects, from famous actors to erotic scenes, depicted with the vibrant mix of colors made possible by the multi-block printing process. During the 19th century, ukiyo-e prints featuring landscapes and scenes of city and country life became very popular in the West, and had a marked impact on European artists.


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Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use the simple term "prints." With regard to photographs, prefer "photographic prints"; for types of reproductions of technical drawings and documents, see terms found under "reprographic copies."
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
color woodcuts
Woodcuts that incorporate color, usually through combining a series of blocks in precise registration that have been inked with individual hues and pressed onto one support.
Prints made using the process of woodcut, which is a relief process in which the design is cut into and printed from the plank side of a wood block; distinct from "wood engraving (process)," which is a relief process using the grain end of a wood block.
Distinctive genre in painting and other media, but most prominently in woodblock printing. It arose in the Edo period (1600-1868) and built up a broad popular market among the middle classes. Subject matter typically focused on brothel districts and kabuki theatres, with formats ranging from single sheet prints to book illustrations. Generally, the style is characterized by a mixture of the realistic narrative of the Kamakura period and the mature decorative style of the Momoyama and Edo periods. Distinctive styles and specialties in subject matter were developed by different schools throughout the period.
Japanese printmaking styles
Printmaking styles belonging to Japanese cultures.
Japanese painting styles
Painting styles belonging to Japanese culture.
Refers to the period and style that developed from the unification of Japan in 1600 until the end of the shogunal dynasty in 1868. During this period, economic expansion encouraged the rise of an educated merchant class who created their own forms of literature and theater as well as new schools of painting and woodblock printing. A wide diversity of pictorial subjects and styles developed during this period and many 19th century Western artists were influenced by them.

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