The Sanmai-bashi Bridges in Ueno


This nishiki-e (Japanese multicolored woodblock print of ukiyo-e) depicts beautiful women coming and going in front of the Sanmai-bashi Bridges (“three bridges side by side”) in Ueno-hirokōji, Edo (present-day Tokyo). Cherry trees in the woods around Kan’ei-ji Temple can be seen in the distance. Kan’ei-ji Temple was well known as the best cherry blossom-viewing spot in the city of Edo, and even now, many people visit it in the cherry blossom season. In the foreground are the three bridges side by side. The women appear to be taking a stroll, wearing clothes glowing with cherry blossom patterns. In the lower left-hand corner of each print is the name of the artist, “Eishi.” Chōbunsai Eishi (Hosoda Eishi, 1756−1829) was born into a family of direct retainers of the shogunate. In his youth he attended Tokugawa Ieharu, the tenth shogun. Eishi learned painting from Kanō Michinobu, a painter to the shogunate, and it is said that his art name “Eishi” was given to him by Ieharu. Eishi started painting ukiyo-e in the late 1780s, when he served as a retainer of the shōgun. In 1789, at the age of 34, he resigned his position and concentrated for the rest of his life on ukiyo-e. He excelled at portraying beautiful women.

Last updated: April 25, 2014