IN THE DEPTHS OF WINTER (Utagawa Hiroshige)

N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Period: 1847-52
Condition: signs of aging
Size: 34 x 22 cm



Precious original woodblock print made, in a period between 1847 and 1852, by the artist Utagawa Hiroshige (歌川広重). The work is dedicated to Act IX (九段目) of Chushingura (忠臣蔵), that is the famous Japanese play inspired by the heroic deeds of the forty-seven ronin (四十七士), the group of samurai who avenged the death of their lord after he was ordered to commit seppuku (切腹) ritual suicide.

In the depths of winter Tonase (戸無瀬), wife of Kakogawa Honzo (加古川本蔵), and her daughter Konami (小浪), arrive at the home of Yuranosuke (由良之助) in Yamashina (山科), near Kyoto (京都). Yuranosuke’s wife is adamant that after all that has happened there can be no possibility of marriage between Konami and Yuranosuke’s son Rikiya (力弥). In despair, Tonase and Konami decide to take their own lives. Just then, Honzo arrives disguised as a wandering priest.

The print on Japanese washi paper (和紙), produced by the publisher Maruya Seijiro (丸屋清次郎), owner of Jukakudo (寿鶴堂), has obvious signs of aging.