Utagawa Hiroshige: Yokkaichi : The Mie River (station # 44) - Honolulu Museum of Art

Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige

Title: Yokkaichi : The Mie River (station # 44)

Date: c. 1833 - 1834

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Source: Honolulu Museum of Art
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Description: This well-known print, which seems to anticipate animation, is one of several variants in the Academy collection. Prior to conservation, the clever design was obscured by structural problems in the washi, or handmade Japanese paper, including a prominent vertical crease, dents, folds, and losses around the edges. In addition, the print had paper remnants on the verso, or back, and soil and spots. A conservation treatment employed surface-cleaning with a kneaded eraser, and the print’s losses were filled with washi. Weak and folded areas were reinforced from the verso and pressed under weight. After these initial steps, the print was humidified using a permeable material called Gore-tex, gently flattened cotton water leaf blotters and light weights. Archival washi hinges were adhered to the verso with wheat starch paste, pressed, and attached to museum-board for matting and framing. Travel on the Tökaidö Road from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto took about two weeks in good weather to walk the entire distance of over 300 miles. Between Edo and Kyoto there were fifty-three stations with inns and stores for travelers. Although the series title states that there were fifty-three stations, the total number of prints in that series is actually fifty-five, if one includes Edo and Kyoto, the departure and destination points. (from Washi in the Floating World exhibition 10/18/2004-)

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