Our Art / Utagawa Hiroshige / Haneda Ferry and Benten Shrine [from series: 100 Famous Views of Edo]

Haneda Ferry and Benten Shrine [from series: 100 Famous Views of Edo] by Utagawa Hiroshige

Haneda Ferry and Benten Shrine [from series: 100 Famous Views of Edo], 1858

Utagawa Hiroshige

The dramatic framing in this artwork reveals the unique viewpoint of a ferry passenger. The perspective is fascinating: we’re looking out through a window-like opening between the boat’s single oar, the ferryman’s hairy leg, and the edge of the hull. On the right side of the rope, a lighthouse warns of the spit of land projecting from the left. In the inverted triangle to the left of the rope, we see the craft’s destination, a shrine to Benten, the goddess of water, music, and literature, nestled among the trees.

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Credit
Los Angeles County Museum of Art