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Collection: Osher Collection
Name: Edo Meisho Ikken Sugoroku
Date/Date Range Published: 1859
Dimensions: H 71.5 x W 71 cm
Notes: Famous places of Edo at a glance, as with a game board. This is not a sugoroku (board game) sheet print, but the title clearly indicates it was laid out in such a way as to allude to such a game print. This map is of the genre of "chokan:" bird's eye views which became quite popular in the late Edo period. Some early and spectacular examples were done by Hokusai. Competition was fierce in the printing world at this time, and the combination of the popularity of sugoroku, bird's-eye views, maps of the burgeoning town and the use of the Hiroshige name (even if only his successor) would have contributed to the appeal of this work.
Historical Context: The title of this Japanese bird's eye view map of the city of Edo (Tokyo) can be translated as "Board Game of the Famous Places in Edo in One View." The woodblock print was created and signed in the lower left corner by Utagawa Hiroshige II (Shigenobu), the student of the master Japanese printmaker Hiroshige. Sugoroku was a popular Japanese board game in the nineteenth-century--similar to "snakes and ladders." In this print, you can imagine the roads and bridges as the routes traveled in the game, connecting popular landmarks. The print is of the genre "chokan," or, bird's eye view, which became quite popular in Japan's late Edo period. Some early and spectacular examples of the genre were done by Hokusai. Competition was fierce in the printing world in Japan at this time, and the combination of the popularity of sugoroku, bird's eye views, maps of the burgeoning city of Edo, and the use of the Hiroshige name (even if only his successor), would have contributed to the appeal of this work in the mid-nineteenth century.
Accession Number: OS-1857-23