Meisho Edo Hyakkei (100 Famous Views of Edo) (名所江戸百景)
Meisho Edo Hyakkei is a series of ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints) created by Hiroshige UTAGAWA, an ukiyoe artist, from 1856 to 1858. It is a work from Hiroshige's latest years, and he continued to create his prints until the very last moment of his death. In the end, it was not completed. It was published as 'Ichiryusai Hiroshige Issei Ichidai Edo Hyakkei' (100 Scenes of Edo, Hiroshige ICHIRYUSAI's work of a lifetime) after the second Hiroshige added his contribution to the prints. The hanmoto (publisher) was Eikichi UOYA. It can be said that it is a compilation of illustrations of famous views from the end of the Edo period, and it consists of 118 sheets of illustrations and an index.
The illustrations are casual views of Edo. However, there are many innovative compositions that use a wide range of perspectives, such as exaggerated ways of placing close-range and distant views, crow's nest view and bird's eye view, and close-ups views. Not only is it visually interesting, it also makes use of creative method of multiple printing, and it is said that as ukiyoe of sceneries the degree of perfection is unmatched.
As a practical matter, as a representative work of very Japanese 'Japonism,' it is a series that cast a large influence on western painters such as Vincent van Gogh, who replicated 'Great Bridge, Sudden Shower at Atake' and 'The Plum Orchard at Kameido.'
118 Sheets of Illustrations in Total
Most of the titles for the illustrations of famous views are only listings of multiple place names. It can be read by making appropriate additions such as 'no' (of), 'yori' (from), 'to' (and) and 'wo nozomu' (upon viewing of). Examples are given as follows.
Nihonbashi Edobashi: Looking at Edo-bashi Bridge from Nihon-bashi Bridge
Eidaibashi Tsukudashima: Looking at Tsukudashima from Eidai-bashi Bridge
Sotosakurada Benkeibori Kojimachi: Looking at Benkeibori (also known as Sakuradago) and Kojimachi from Sotosakurada
Teppozu Inaribashi Minatojinja: Looking at Inari-bashi Bridge and Minato-jinja Shrine from Teppozu
Takadanosugataminohashi Omokagenohashi Jariba: Looking at Jariba (gravel pit) from Sugatami-bashi Bridge and Omokage-bashi Bridge at Takada.