Andō Hiroshige
Autumn Moon over Ishiyama

Signed: Hiroshige ga; Publisher’s seal: Ho’eidō (Takeuchi Magohachi); ōban, yoko-e, 22.6 x 34.6 cm; nishiki-e with fukibokashi and kirazuri

From the series “Eight Views of Ōmi”. The mountains of Ishiyama rise up over the Seta River, as it flows out of Lake Biwa, under the light of a full autumn moon. Tucked away on the left is the Ishiyama Tempel built on tall wooden stilts. The limited pallet of colours gives the print the character of an ink brush painting. In this relatively late print, the blue block for the sky was not directly aligned with the register mark, as can be recognized by the narrow white stripe along the summit of the mountain; in the background, on the right, the white was painted over by hand.

F. Tikotin, La Tour de Peilz (March 1968)
Riese Collection #140

There seem to be two states of this beautiful moonlight view. The earliest impressions have dark shading on the mountain in the centre distance and shading as well on the highest mountain on the upper left. The gradation of blue on the sky and lake in these early impressions is very delicate giving one a feeling of moonlight reflected on water. In later impressions, as here, the mountains in the distance are printed entirely in light grey, the highest mountain on the left is usually, printed without shading on the top, but always shows two small wormholes directly above the pagoda. In these impressions the blue block of the sky is usually off-register, giving a not-altogether-unpleasant outline of white along this upper range of mountains, as though they, too, were catching the moonlight. In some impressions, as this one, however, there is a wide separation between the distant mountains and the sky. These areas are often collared-in by hand to seem less conspicuous.

Impressions of the first state with the shading on the mountain tops, and before the wormholes at the upper left, are reproduced in Kikuchi 1281 (Tōkyō National Museum impression) and Ukiyo-e Taikei, Vol. 11, no. 158 (Takahashi collection). An impression of the second state with the wormholes, but with dark shading on the top of the left-hand mountain is reproduced in the Popper sale catalogue (Sotheby’s Parke Bernet, New York, 5 October 1972, no. 286). This impression was also off-register along the topmost rocks, and collared-in. The impression reproduced in Boller, Masterpieces of the Japanese Colour Woodcut, p. 166, is, like most of the other important prints in the book, a facsimile reproduction.

Another impression of the second state, without shading and with the two wormholes, is reproduced in the Vignier and Inada catalogue, Toyokuni, Hiroshige, no. 232, pl. LXI.