Japanese woodblock landscape prints take my breath away. They became popular in the early 1800s as the Japanese began to have some leisure time and enough pocket change to travel. Landscape prints usually featured familiar sights along tourist routes or pilgrimage destinations. They were printed in editions of several thousand and sold in shops along the way like postcards. The really interesting thing is that woodblock prints were highly regarded in Europe and America and exerted a major influence on western art. Yet, they were under appreciated in Japan and regarded more like, well, postcards.
This evening scene was designed by Hiroshige in 1832 as an issue in his famous series: Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido Road. Each year in the eight month, the Shogun in Edo (Tokyo) in a grand procession escorted a white horse to the Emperor in Kyoto along the Tokaido Road. Hiroshige's Fifty-three Stations served as a travelogue and keepsake for those who made the journey.
Kanbara - Evening Snow
Utagawa Hiroshige, 1832