The 'Looking Back' Willow thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

The 'Looking Back' Willow

Woodblock Print
1843-1847 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The subject of this uchiwa-e (rigid fan print) design by Hiroshige is the famous 'Looking Back' Willow that stood outside the Omon or Great Gate, the sole point of entry and departure for visitors to the Yoshiwara licensed pleasure quarter in the Imado Asakusa district of Edo. The last object in view as clients looked back when departing on their early morning journey along the Nihon Embankment, it symbolised the pathos of separating lovers. The scene here is set in the dead of night rather than at dawn, however, and it is a courtesan rather than a man that the servant with the lantern is seeing off. The lantern is marked with the katakana characters for 'hi' and 'ro', the first two syllables of Hiroshige's name.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleEight Famous Views of Plants and Trees in the Eastern Capital (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Colour print from woodblocks
Brief Description
Woodblock print, Utagawa Hiroshige I; 'The 'Looking Back' Willow', from the series 'Eight Famous Views of Plants and Trees in the Eastern Capital'; fan print, Japanese, 1843-1847
Physical Description
Fan print, aiban size. Artist signature: Hiroshige ga. Publisher mark: Tsujiya Yasubei. Censor seal: Tanaka.
Dimensions
  • Approx. height: 220mm
  • Approx. width: 290mm
Style
Object history
Purchased from J. S. Happer along with a number of other prints for £12.4.0.
Place Depicted
Summary
The subject of this uchiwa-e (rigid fan print) design by Hiroshige is the famous 'Looking Back' Willow that stood outside the Omon or Great Gate, the sole point of entry and departure for visitors to the Yoshiwara licensed pleasure quarter in the Imado Asakusa district of Edo. The last object in view as clients looked back when departing on their early morning journey along the Nihon Embankment, it symbolised the pathos of separating lovers. The scene here is set in the dead of night rather than at dawn, however, and it is a courtesan rather than a man that the servant with the lantern is seeing off. The lantern is marked with the katakana characters for 'hi' and 'ro', the first two syllables of Hiroshige's name.
Collection
Accession Number
E.547-1911

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record createdMarch 11, 2003
Record URL