Minakuchi, Meibutsu kanpyō from the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō

Kyōto, Dairi from the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō

Japanese Color Woodblock Print


from the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō

by Utagawa Hiroshige II, 1865

Yokkaichi from the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō

IHL Cat. #426

About This Print

Source:Information on this station taken from the wikipedia article "53 Stations of the Tōkaidō."
The 51st print in this series of 581 prints titled Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô Road issued in October 1865, picturing Minakuchi, the 50th station along the Tōkaidō.  It is located in the present-day city of Kōka, in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

We can see someone hanging strips of dried gourd along the fences.   Dried gourd, kanpyō, was a regional specialty that would have been sold to travelers.

Two different prints were issued to commemorate this 50th station along the Tōkaidō and this print is likely the second state of the print.  It is assumed that the blocks for the first state of the print, pictured below, were irreparably damaged or lost.  It is interesting that in the below supposed first state of the print no dried gourd is visible.  I can imagine the publisher realizing this and then demanding the artist create another showing this town's specialty.

Utagawa Hiroshige II (Shigenobu), Japanese, 1826–1869
No. 51, Minakuchi: Famous Dried Squash (Meibutsu kanpyō),
from the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō Road (Tōkaidō gojusan eki)

1865 (Keiō 1), 10th month
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.20710
(my note: likely first state of this print)

This collection's print is a chirimen-e or crêped print.  For the crêped version of the print, the same woodblocks are used as for the paper edition, but by the time the process is finished, the piece has shrunken considerably.  See chirimen-e in the Glossary for additional information on this type of print.

The non-crêped print measures 9 1/2 x 7 1/4 in. and the crêped version is 7 1/4 x 5 1/4 in., approximately
a 25% reduction in size caused by the crêping process.

1 The 58 prints are made up of the 55 views of the 53 stations (includes two alternate states of prints for Minakuch station and Ishibe station) plus the Nihonbashi starting point print and two Kyoto terminus point prints.

About the Series

See the section titled "The 1865 Series Tōkaidō gojūsan eki (Fifty-three Stations of the Tōkaidō)" under Utagawa Hiroshige II (1826-1869) for details on this series.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #426
 Title or Description Minakuchi: Famous Dried Gourd (Minakuchi - Meibutsu kanpyō 水口 - 名物干瓢)
 Fifty-three Stations of the Tôkaidô Road (東海道五拾三駅 Tôkaidô gojûsan eki)
 Artist  Utagawa Hiroshige II (1826-1869)
 Signature Risshō ga
 Seal  none
 Publication Date after 1865 (Keiô 1), 10th month
 Publisher Maruya Tetsujirō
 Impression good
 Colors good
 Condition good -  minor soiling; two remnants of previous mounting along top verso
 Genre ukiyo-e, fûkei-ga
 Format vertical chûban
 H x W Paper
 7 1/4 x 5 1/4 in. (23.5 x 13.3 cm)

 Collections This Print