53 Kyoto

Magnificent woodblock by Tsukioka (or Taiso) Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), of Kyoto the last station on the Tokaido*. Kyoto is the terminus of the Tokaido and travellers would descend through Osaka-yama Pass and see a panoramic view of the city and would then … Read Full Description



S/N: SGST-053-JWB–392055
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Full Title:

53 Kyoto




In good condition.



Paper Size: 

x 358mm
53 Kyoto - Antique Print from 1865

Genuine antique



Magnificent woodblock by Tsukioka (or Taiso) Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), of Kyoto the last station on the Tokaido*. Kyoto is the terminus of the Tokaido and travellers would descend through Osaka-yama Pass and see a panoramic view of the city and would then cross the Kamo River into the city.

The views in this series depict the journey of Tokugawa Iemochi (1846-1866) the 14th shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate from Edo to Kyoto on April 22, 1863 who had been summoned by the emperor. This was the first time in 230 years that a shogun had visited Kyoto. He travelled with over 3,000 retainers as an escort and with all the pomp and ceremony that was expected of a shogun.

A number of artists and publishers collaborated on this series but the majority of the prints were made by Yoshitoshi and Hiroshige II. 

*Tokaido literally means, the Eastern Sea Road and was the main feudal road in Japan that ran mainly along the coast for five hundred kilometers between the capital, Edo (Tokyo), where the Shogun* lived and Kyoto, where the Emperor resided. Over time, the fifty three stations became post-towns which supplied horses, porter stations, lodgings and food for travellers.

*Uma-jirushi were massive flags used in feudal Japan to identify a daimyo or shogun.

From the series, Suehiro gojusan tsugi (Fifty-Three Stations with a Folding Fan or Fan Tokaido). 

Date seal: 1865 (Genji 2/ Keio 1 V )

Marks, A. Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints.  2011 p.485
Keyes, R. Courage and Silence: A Study of the Life and Color Woodblock Prints of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 1839-1892. 1982 #138.





Tsukioka (or Taiso) Yoshitoshi (1839 - 1892)

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) Yoshitoshi is widely recognised as the last great master of traditional Japanese woodblock printing, known as ukiyo-e, and an originator of manga and anime. He is renowned for his highly imaginative, often flamboyant and even disturbing depictions of historical events, warriors, beautiful women and the supernatural. His career straddled two eras – the final years of the Edo period (1615–1868) and the first few decades of modern Japan. Yoshitoshi was born in Edo (current-day Tokyo) on 30 April 1839. His father, Owariya Kinzaburō (1815–63), was a merchant who bought samurai status in order to advance in the hierarchical class structure of Tokugawa Japan. Yoshitoshi’s parents are believed to have divorced, but most of what is known about Yoshitoshi’s personal life was written in the 1930s by his student Yamanaka Kodō (1869–1945) and is considered unreliable. From 1850 until about 1859, the young Yoshitoshi was apprenticed to Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797–1861), one of the most famous ukiyo-e designers of the time, whose work is represented in the Art Gallery of NSW collection. In 1853 Yoshitoshi published his first print, The drowning of the Heike clan in 1185. Following the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan steadily opened up to the rest of the world. It was a time of rapid industrialisation in which new technologies such as photography and lithography were introduced. Change was also reflected in the prints being produced in Japan in the latter part of the 19th century, as artists chronicled the modernisation of the country – from transformations in cityscapes to the adoption of Western attire. Kuniyoshi’s interest in European prints appears to have influenced Yoshitoshi’s approach to perspective, realism and the individuality of the subject. In 1861 Kuniyoshi died, followed by Yoshitoshi’s father in 1863. Although his personal name was Yonejirō, after these events the artist called himself Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (‘yoshi’ derived from the second character in ‘Kuniyoshi’). Initially enthusiastic and open to Western influxes, Yoshitoshi became increasingly sceptical about the loss of numerous aspects of traditional Japanese art and culture, and concentrated his efforts in introducing new themes and techniques to the stagnant art of ukiyo-e. Reference: Art Gallery of New South Wales

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Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido ( - )

The Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido, was a  series of woodblock views first made famous by Utagawa Hiroshige in 1834. The Tokaido connected Edo where the shogun resided, with the then capital of Kyoto where the Emperor lived. It ran along the eastern coast of Honshu and along the road, there were 53 different post stations, which provided stables, food, and lodgings for travellers. The road ran through some of the most picturesque scenery in Japan. The series inspired generations of artists not only in Japan but in Europe.

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