This well-known design depicts a snow scene in the precinct of Sensoji, a popular temple commonly known as Kinryuzan, after the hill on which it was situated at AsaKusa, north of the city. Founded in 628, it houseda Kannon whose benevolence appealed to many followers. The view in this print is from the gate called Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate in extreme close-up, showing only the pillars and gigantic lantern right over the viewer's head - one of Hiroshige's favourite compositional schemes. The lantern bears the character "hashi", which is the lower part of Shinbashi, a place-name of the donors of the temple, whose individual names are written in small characters at the bottom. Some distance from this gate is another, the Niomon Gate of the Guardians. On both its sides, covered by a roof, stand the large guardians who gives the gate its name. On the right is a pagoda of five stories with a metal finial pointing to the sky. The visitors to the temple walk in snow, bearing the cold in silence. As in most of Hiroshige's Ukiyo-e prints, expression ofthe accumulated snow is rendered not by white pigment, but leaving the areas uncoloured. The effect of falling snow is further enhanced by embossing.
Hiroshige's last monumental series, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, was published in February 1856 and completed in August 1858. It comprises 121 prints, three of which were added after his death by his student Hiroshige II (1826-1869). Originally planned as 100 images, the series gained such popularity and public demand that it was continued. But toward its completion, its master suddenly died from cholera.
In dramatic compositions of close-up views or in gentle distant views, Hiroshige presented the varied views and experiences that his beloved native city offered its residents. Interesting topographical features - rivers, bridges, hills temples - all showed different aspects depending on changing weather, time of day and the season of the year.
All printing are done by hand, using the traditional woodblock process. The printing stage is both time-consuming and extremely delicate, because each colour in the print must be printed from its own block. The printer must align the print perfectly through several stages of the printing process. All prints are produced on handmade Japanese Kozo (paper mulberry) paper. Inks are made from natural dyes. All of the material used are traditional Ukiyo-e.
Through careful research, the use of traditional techniques and materials, and the highest standards of craftmanship, the artist are able to reproduce original Ukiyo-e with the highest level of accuracy.
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