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Utagawa Kunisada

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Image of Memorial Portrait of Utagawa Hiroshige

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Memorial Portrait of Utagawa Hiroshige

Kunisada Tsunoda, Japanese, (1786–1865)
Utagawa Kunisada, Japanese, (1786–1865)

Creation date: 1858
Creation place: Japan

Other Information

Type: Woodblock
Medium and Support: Woodblock
Credit Line: Bequest of Mrs. Cora Timken Burnett
Accession Number: 1957.384
Dimensions: 14 in. x 9 3/8 in. (35.56 cm x 23.81 cm)

Label Copy

This portrait of the artist Hiroshige shows him as he looked just before his death, with the robes and shaven head of a Buddhist priest. At the age of sixty, two years before his death of an undetermined long illness, he took monk’s vows. Memorial prints like this, issued after the passing of a notable person in the arts, were common for Kabuki actors, but not so for print artists. The designer of this print was a leading artist of the time, who signed it: “Toyokuni drew this with tears flowing in remembrance.” The lengthy inscription is a biographical eulogy, and in one of the seals, there is a Buddhist saying: “life is but a mere puff of smoke.” The final inscription is the death poem composed by Hiroshige himself: Leaving my brush in the East, I follow the skies of travel To see the famous places of the Western Paradise.
Last Updated: 10/29/2010


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Dreams and Diversions: 250 Years of Japanese Prints from the San Diego Museum of San Diego Museum of Art , 11/6/2010 - 6/5/2011

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