Memory, Memento, and Sacred Bond

Twilight at Numazu (Numazu tasogare no zu), from the series Fifty-three Stations of the Tokaido (Tokaido gojusan tsugi no uchi)

  • 91
  • Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858)
  • Japan
  • Ca. 1831–34
  • Color woodblock print
  • H. 9 1/2 x W. 14 1/2 in. (24.2 x 36.8 cm)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1925.3513

Numazu is the thirteenth station on the Tokaido (East Sea Road) that connected Edo (modern Tokyo) with Kyoto. Landmarks and activities along the route are memorialized in Hiroshige's famous series. In this print, Hiroshige illustrates Buddhist pilgrims walking toward the town along the banks of the Kise River at dusk. The tengu demon mask with the long nose, carried on one of the traveler's backs, may mean that these travelers are headed to the Konpira Shrine in Shikoku, where such masks are carried in processions. Konpira, like many religious institutions before reforms in the later nineteenth century, included a mix of Shinto and Buddhist themes.

PHOTO CREDIT: © The Art Institute of Chicago


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