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Dyers' Quarter, Kanda
Dyers’ Quarter, Kanda
As part of the “100 Famous Views of Edo” series, Ando Hiroshige created ‘Dyers’ Quarter, Kanda’ between the years 1856 and 1858. The woodblock print depicts an autumnal scene from the Kanda region in Japan. The focus centers on the long, multi-colored cotton strips of fabric that hang from the drying platforms situated above the dyers’ shopping district in Kanda. The ribbons have several interspersed symbols, as well as the mark of the artist, Ando Hiroshige.
The background is a breathtaking display of the famous snow-capped volcano, Mount Fuji. The red horizon that lies behind the mountain suggests sunrise or perhaps sunset, and adds particular stillness and serenity to the scene. A lone bird, a mere black dot in the clear blue sky, adds emphasis to the elevation level of the drying platforms. A tall tower can be observed to the left forefront of Fuji, a proud landmark that still remains today. It is a surviving tower of Edo Castle. The sensation of wind can be felt by viewers, caused by the swaying of the suspended material that frames the spectacular setting of ‘Dyers’ Quarter, Kanda’.
Edo, now known as Tokyo, was the birthplace of Ando Hiroshige. The depicted dyers’ quarter in Kanda was approximately one mile north of the artist’s house.
Analysis of the Symbols
“Monogrammed fabric strips in the center dominate the composition. One bears the “fish” mark of the publisher of the series, Uoei, cleverly written so that it resembles the word for “we,” pronounced “ue” and hence an abbreviation of “Uoei.” The strips in the background bear the lozenge-shaped mark of Hiroshige; the inner shape reads “hi,” the outer square “ro”: “Hiro” [shige]. It is characteristic that the artist has placed himself behind his publisher—and that his personal mark appears only this once in the entire series.” – The Brooklyn Museum
‘Dyers’ Quarter, Kanda’ by Ando Hiroshige is currently located at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, U.S.A.