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1840 Suharaya Ukiyo-e Bird's Eye View of Japan

[Untitled View of Japan]. - Main View

1840 Suharaya Ukiyo-e Bird's Eye View of Japan


Land of the Rising Sun.


[Untitled View of Japan].
  1840 (dated)     15 x 20.25 in (38.1 x 51.435 cm)


A scarce 1840 ukiyo-e woodblock print bird's-eye view of Japan published by Suharaya Mohē.
A Closer Look
With Mt. Fuji in the center foreground and oriented towards the west, the view adopts a creative convex perspective on the Japanese islands of Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku. Neither Fuji nor Edo are labeled, as viewers were expected to recognize them. The names of Osaka and Kyoto are also relatively subdued, while other cities, prefectures, and districts (郡) are labeled more prominently. Only the southern portion of Hokkaido appears, labeled Ezo (蝦夷). Coastal islands are also indicated, including Tsushima (対馬) at top, roughly half-way between Fukuoka in Japan and Busan in Korea. Cardinal directions (東, 南, 西, 北) were once noted but were seemingly obscured by the publisher after printing.
Publication History and Census
This view was published in 1840 (天保 Tenpō 11) by a group of publishers, consisting of Suharaya Mohē in Edo, Akitaya Ryōsuke (秋田屋良介) in Osaka, and Tangoya Iwajirō (丹後屋岩次郎) and Hiranoya Mohei (平野屋茂兵衛) in Kyoto. A variant printing was published the same year by Suharaya, Akitaya, Kansuido Iguchi (観水堂井口氏藏), and Zeniya Sōshirō (錢屋惣四郎). The only known institutional holding of this view is the variant printing, held by the National Museum of Japanese History (under the descriptive title 天保新鐫大日本勝景一覧). However, the lack of a title complicates any attempt at a census.


Suharaya Mohē (須原屋茂兵衞; c. 1684 - 1904) was a prominent publishing house and book wholesaler (書物問屋) of the Edo and Meiji periods known for publishing works related to Edo, including maps. The publishing house is named for the hometown of its founder, Suhara Village (栖原村) in Arida District, now in Wakayama. Among the best-known publishers in the family lineage were Suharaya Ichibei (須原屋市兵衛; fl. c. 1762 - 1802) and Suharaya Sasuke (須原屋佐助; fl. c. 1795 - 1840). More by this mapmaker...


Good. Wear along fold lines, with small areas of loss reinforced with tissue on verso. Sporadic soiling.