This XXL-size edition of “The Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kisokaido” recovers the legendary series by Keisai Eisen and Utagawa Hiroshige, an impressive account of the historical route between Edo (Tokyo) and Kyoto. Made from one of the best preserved copies of the first edition and accompanied by Hiroshige’s original sketches, this vivid 19th-century portrait of Japan is a magnificent testament to its imperial past and a masterpiece of engraving.
Authors: Andreas Marks and Rhiannon Paget.
Japanese bookbinding with a lined case, 44 x 30 cm, 234 pages, in cardboard packaging with a handle (format 53 x 33.5 x 5.5 cm).
Multilingual edition: Spanish, English and Italian.
The creation of the Kisokaido route was an order of the then shogun of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who in the early 17th century decreed the construction of rest stations in the painful stretch that went from Edo (present-day Tokyo) to Kyoto. Inns, shops, and restaurants were opened to provide food and lodging for the exhausted traveler. In 1835, the famous xylographer Keisai Eisen was commissioned to make a series of stamps depicting the Kisokaido route. After taking over 24 of these prints, Eisen was replaced by Utagawa Hiroshige, who completed the series of 70 images in 1838.
Both Eisen and Hiroshige were renowned masters of engraving. The sixty-nine stations of the Kisokaido reveal the different styles of both and their common ability. From Nihonbashi’s busy starting point to Iwamurata Castle, Eisen opts for a duller palette, but excels in figuration, especially in portraying glamorous women, and is recreated in the images of all the activity going on. along the way, from the shoeing of a horse to farmers throwing rice. Hiroshige demonstrates his mastery of landscape engraving with grandiose and evocative scenes, from the tranquil banks of the Ota River to the towering Wada Pass or a moonlight ascension between Yawata and Mochizuki.
Taken together, the prints of “The Sixty-Nine Stations of the Kisokaido” represent not only a lively example of the art of woodcut, with bold compositions and an experimental use of color, but also a charming tapestry from 19th century Japan, much before the ghost of industrialization appeared. This new XL edition of TASCHEN presents the series with the format and excellence it deserves. The images reproduced come from the only known first edition of the complete series, which ensures the best quality for this legendary work.
Brand new specimen, sealed.
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