The “Plum Garden at Kameido” (亀戸梅屋舗), one of the most iconic images from the series “One Hundred Famous Views of Edo” (名所江戸百景) by the artist Utagawa Hiroshige (歌川広重), fascinated so much the Western audience that, as is well known, even Van Gogh painted a copy of it. The park depicted in the print belonged to the wealthy merchant Iseya Hikoemon (伊勢屋彦右衛門) and the tree in the foreground was famous for its bizarre shape. Known as Garyubai (臥龍梅), the “Sleeping Dragon Plum Tree”, it was mentioned in every Edo guide book.
In the “List of famous places in Edo” it was described as follows: «It truly resembles a dragon laying on the ground. The branches intertwined seem to transform into a new trunk. The tree spreads to the left and right. The fragrance of its flowers eclipses that of the orchids, the vibrant white hue of the flowers, pressed tight against each other, ravishes the night».
The woodcut, printed for the first time in November 1857 by the publisher Uoya Eikichi (魚屋栄吉), is presented here in a fine edition of 2018 made by the prestigious Adachi Hanga (アダチ版画) in Tokyo and is in very good condition.