Jul 8, 2014

Gathering Shellfish at Low Tide at Susaki, from the series Famous Places in Edo

Gathering Shellfish at Low Tide at Susaki, from the series Famous Places in Edo


Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川 広重

(Japanese, 1797-1858)

Color woodblock print

Sheet: 22.3 x 34.7 cm (8 3/4 x 13 11/16 in.)

The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith 1985.315



Susaki, a spit of land along Edo Bay, was known for excellent shellfish harvests during low tide in the spring. Hiroshige designed this print so that the viewer seems to be floating in the bay on board a ship, whose mast and rigging span the left foreground. Instead of depicting the lives or monuments of wealthy elites, this landscape focuses on the working men, women, and children wading into shallow water to fill their baskets with shellfish. Susaki Shrine, dedicated to Benten, the goddess of water, is shown only as buildings amid pine trees on the right, while the leisure class enjoying the sea breezes from a pavilion are reduced to small figures in the background.

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