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Kinryūsan Temple at Asakusa by Utagawa Hiroshige

Kinryūsan Temple at Asakusa, 1856

Utagawa Hiroshige

A monumental paper lantern hangs above a long walkway thronged with people in this enchanting winter scene. The path leads to the oldest and most venerable Buddhist temple in Edo (modern-day Tokyo.) In Japanese painting, a red and white color scheme denotes auspicious occasions, in this case the beginning of winter. Snowflakes waft down onto the white roof, trees, parasols and pathway, contrasting with the strong red of the Thunder Gate, temple buildings, and hanging lantern.

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