N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Period: 1890s
Condition: signs of aging
Size: 18 x 20 cm



Even if the waves of Enoshima are wrinkled, Benzaiten appears young and beautiful like spring (江の島乃なみには志わをよするとも弁財天のうら若き春). The words of Hyakuyoken Hashinaga (百余軒橋長), written on the upper left part of the work, accompany the depiction of two pilgrims who have just arrived at the torii (鳥居) entrance gate of Enoshima (江の島), the small island in the Sagami Bay (相模湾), Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県), in which is worshiped the goddess Benzaiten (弁財天) who, according to legend, is said to have caused it to rise from the bottom of the sea in the sixth century.

The refined woodblock print presented here was produced at the end of the 19th century and is a copy of a work made in the years 1810s-1820s by the artist Totoya Hokkei (魚屋北渓), one of the first and best-known students of the famous Katsushika Hokusai (葛飾北斎).

The print on Japanese washi paper (和紙) is a surimono (摺物), distributed in the 1890s to a limited audience probably as New Year’s greeting, and shows evident signs of aging.