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View from Massaki of Suijin Shrine, Uchigawa Inlet, and Sekiya (Massaki-hen yori Suijin no mori Uchigawa Sekiya no sato o mini zu)
|| New reproduction
||225mm x 340mm
Late on this day in early spring, we sit on the second floor of one of the teahouses in front of Massaki Inari Shrine, savoring the dish known as dengaku-small squares of skewered tofu brushed with a sweet miso sauce and grilled over charcoal -for which these restaurants were famous. This particular view may well be from Kinoeneya, the most famous of the dengaku establishments; it is at any rate an elegant setting, with a fresh ar-rangement of white camellias discreetly shown in section to the left, and the shoji screen of the round window is slid open rightward to reveal a perfectly framed view over the river.
We have here reversed directions from the previous print and are now on the west side of the Sumida River looking northeast. In the grove of trees to the right, we can make out the same tori/ and lanterns of Suijin Shrine that we saw before. The river extending in the distance to the right is actually an inlet, known as Uchigawa, a former river course that leads to the temple of Mokuboji (pi. 92). The area on the far side, above which Mount Tsukuba is visible, is the Sekiya no Sato of the title, a vague place-name applying to the countryside extending from here along the east bank of the river to Senju Bridge.
The Edo connoisseur might have read still more into this view than is immediately apparent. The view of plums blooming just outside the window would trigger an association with the tradition of visiting Inari shrines on the first day of the Horse in the Second Month (see also pi. 18), and one can thus imagine a festive throng at the shrine itself outside. But here the scene is completely serene, as if the curve of the window has neatly cut us off from the bustle outside to the left. More important to the connoisseur would doubtless have been the time of day, early evening, for in stopping here he would surely be on his way to the Yoshiwara, just a leisurely walk to the west. This shrine was intimately associated, in fact, with the Yoshiwara itself, since courtesans were among its most de-vout patrons. The popularity of Massaki Inari, and that of the dengaku restaurants within its pre-cincts, began as a sudden fad in 1757 and was still strong in this print of exactly one century later.
Smith H.D and Poster A.G., Hiroshige, One Hundred Famous views of Edo., George Braziller Inc., 1st edn., 4th reprint , 1986Summary Page | Home | landscapes | Previous Picture | Next Picture |