Andō Hiroshige
Shichirigahama at Kamakura in Sōshū (Sagami Province)
1855, 2nd month

Signed: Hiroshige ga; Publisher’s seal: Marujin ((Maruya Shinpachi); censor’s seal: aratame; uchiwa-e, 22.6 x 28.6 cm; aizuri-e

From an untitled series of views of the provinces printed in blue. Aizuri-e (“blue printed pictures”) became very fashionable after 1829/30 (cf. cat. 181 and 183). “Berlin blue” (Prussian blue) – in Japanese bero-ai – was a stable, non-fading blue pigment that happened to be discovered in Berlin in 1704 and had already been imported to Japan via Holland and China by the mid-18th century. This is a view of Fuji from the 28 km (= shichiri = 7 miles) long beach near Kamakura, published by Maruya Jinpachi in Edo.

F. Tikotin, La Tour de Peilz (May 1964)
Riese Collection #165

Hiroshige designed over 300 fan prints, but since they were designed to be cut out, pasted on prefabricated bamboo fans, and actually used, very few of any given design have survived. Many of those which have come down to us from fan seller’s sample books, bought by enterprising European collectors at the turn of the century. Others, like this and the two following, seem to have been gathered and mounted in an album at one time.

Many of Hiroshige’s fan prints were published in sets and, although untitled, this view of Mt. Fuji from the 28-kilometre-long beach near Kamakura, is from a set of landscapes printed entirely in shades of blue by the prominent Edo publisher Maruya Jinpachi. Another impression of this print is reproduced in Strange, The Colour-Prints of Hiroshige, p. 90 with the comment that “like powers of the man who made this superb print were hardly failing!”

There is a notion that prints in blue were published because of a government ban restricting the number of colours than could be used in Japanese prints. This is not true. There were government proclamations which applied to print publication in the early 1840s, but the aizuri, or prints in blue, appeared both before and after this date. They are in the tradition of the benigirai-e of Eishi and Shunman which were printed in a palette often limited to shades of grey, but their immediate inspiration was probably the popularity of blue and white porcelain from Imari and other centres in Kyūshū.

Reproduced in: Ingelheim catalogue, no. 136.