An outlook of the Gohonmatsu area, where Onagi Canal flows. The region is named as such for the famous group of pine trees that grew along the canal. Two oarsman row along the canal.
This print displays a view of the Gohonmatsu area where the Onagi Canal flowed. The region is named as such for the famous group of pine trees that grew along the canal. The Onagi Canal was actually straight, so the deep curve of the canal in the print is an artistic liberty, perhaps to show the small curved bridge between the branches of the tree. This bridge marked the end of the Jukken Canal, which connected to the Onagi Canal nearby the Gohonmatsu.
The large pine tree supported by several posts is one of several famous pine trees depicted in the series. Originally five pine trees were planted on the side of the canal, as explained in the directory Edo sunago (Grains of Edo Sand 1732), but four of the trees died. Nevertheless, the one remaining tree was known as the “Five Pines.” The tree was located in an estate of Kuki, the daimyo of Ayabe (Kyoto Prefecture) and spanned over the water. The Kuki estate was one of many daimyo domiciles located along the Onagi Canal. The tree was especially regarded as a symbol of longevity, although in general pine trees are regarded as such in Japanese art. Unfortunately, the tree was killed by pollution and was cut down in February 1909.
A similar depiction of the boat, including that of the man dragging a cloth in the water, appears in Hokusai’s “View of Sunset over Ryōfoku Bridge from Oumayagashi Ferry” from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji in the early 1830s and in the Edo meisho zue (vol. VII) of 1836, which was also set in Gohonmatsu. The direction of the boat in this image is confused: the front of the boat is faces the viewer, but the direction of the cloth held by the man flows in the opposite direction.
Mark & Seal Notes:
The system of formal censorship for woodblock prints, in which an aratame seal and an oval zodiacal date seal were paired together, was functional from 1853-1872.
-Leah Justin-Jinich (Summer 2014)