Artist: Ando Utagawa Hiroshige (1787-1858)
Woodblock Prints Title: 100 Views of Edo # 94 Maple Trees at Mama, Tekona Shrine and Linked Bridge
1st Publication: January 1857
Size: 13-3/8 x 9 +Margins as shown
Date of this edition: January 1857
Publisher: Uoya Eikichi
Condition: Little remnants from prior backing, upper right margin partially damaged with small strip of paper to even it up. Mild toning. Good colors, impression and overall condition
Notes: This is an extremely rare first edition, Deluxe edition with Mica in the lower corners. 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, splendid wood marks from the original block, mica, a real masterpiece from this 100 views of Edo series.
More about this print: Although Mama was over ten miles east of central Edo, the beauty of its autumn maples was so famous that it was worth the trip.
In earlier times, its fame centered on a particular tree of great size. Though only the stump remained in Hiroshige's day, he may possibly be alluding to that tree in his use of a single large forked trunk to frame the view. He emphasizes the scenic beauty of Mama with the dominant leaves in the center foreground, their glorious orange color—produced with red lead or iron oxide— unfortunately blackened with age.
Beyond the maples of Mama lie the shrine and bridge of the title, which were less important as sites to be visited than as places that for centuries had enjoyed a life of their own in Japanese literature.
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.