Utagawa Toyokuni III (Utagawa Kunisada), ‘Twilight Snowfall at Ueno’, ca. 1847-50, Scholten Japanese Art

signed Ichiyosai Toyokuni ga, with censor's nanushi seals Murata (Murata Heiemon) and Mera (Mera Ta-ichiro), and publisher's seal Yamajin han (Yamashiroya Jinbei of Sansendo), ca. 1847-50

obaiban tate-e triptych 29 5/8 by 14 1/4 in., 75.4 by 36.2 cm

Three women walk on a hilltop near a stone wall on a snowy night. They are bundled up in multiple layers of clothing and carry umbrellas. Led by the woman at the far right, her companion immediately behind her bends over precariously to adjust the strap on her geta while the third stops short, her toes turned inward as though she were teetering somewhat in the slippery snow.

Ueno is located in a hilly area north of Edo and has long been one of the most popular locales for cherry blossom viewing in the spring time. The women may be visiting the precincts of the Kan'eiji Temple or the Yushima Tenjin Shrine, both of which overlook Shinobazu pond, which may be the water seen in the distance on the left-hand sheet. The stone bridge spanning the water could be the entrance for the Benten Shrine located in the middle of the pond. Other visitors at the top of the hill dot the background, while further down the hill at left numerous pedestrians hurry along creating a near continuous canopy with their umbrellas.

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Publisher: Yamashiroya Jinbei of Sansendo

Nagoya-shi Hakubutsukan, ed., Utagawa Kunisada: Ozaki Kyuya ukiyo-e korekushon (Utagawa Kunisada: The Ozaki Kyuya Ukiyo-e Collection), 2005, fig. 29

About Utagawa Toyokuni III (Utagawa Kunisada)