VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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View of Nihon Embankment
RMV 6016-1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

One of a set of eleven views in Edo, it shows palanquin bearers bringing a man to the pleasure district of the Yoshiwara. It is a perfect demonstration of Denzen’s skills. The intricate lines of the Nihon embankment and the roofs of the houses, obviously require painstaking work. The bodies of the two men are given a three-dimensionality by curved lines, testifying to a mastery otherwise not seen in Japanese art. The understanding of Western linear perspective, choosing a vanishing point at the same level as the eyes of the men, is equally exceptional. Moreover, the finishing touch of realizing that a Japanese lantern casts no light onto the ground through the wooden base, resulting in a dark centre-spot, is a subtle touch of genius. Prof. Matthi Forrer, curator Japanese arts, Leiden.

History of the Object
In Europe, etching has a long tradition, though only becoming an independent format of printing from the seventeenth century. In Japan, the development was quite different: having studied two general Dutch handbooks, Shiba Kōkan made the first etching, a view of the Mimeguri Shrine, in 1783. It is then quite incomprehensible how Denzen could have made this etching only some twenty years later.

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Type
Print 
Materials
Paper; ink 
Measurements
Width 21,8 cm. Length 28,7 cm.  
Creator name
Aodo Denzen 
Creator date
1748-1822 
Where it was made
Japan 
Geography
Japan 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; 1810 (ca.) 
Function
Print 
Acquisition
Acquired by the museum in 2000 with the support of the Volkenkundig Aankoopfonds Collectie Nederland and the Vereniging Rembrandt. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State property, the Netherlands 
Museum
National Museum of Ethnology, Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde 
Credit line
National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, the Netherlands 

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