Wednesday, 12 February 2014
The Shinmachi Bridge, Hodogaya
Apart from being very attractive, the card and stamp have stories to tell.
The card shows Shinmachi Bridge in Hodogaya as a woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige from Japan. It is number five of a series about the 53 Stations of the Tokaido, one of the five major roads in Japan in Utagawa Hiroshige's day. The "stations" refers to places along the road which provided shelter for travellers.
Hiroshige travelled the length of the Tokaido in 1832 and produced 55 prints, one for each station and one each for departure (from Edo) and arrival (at Kyoto). So, while this print is 5th in the series, it pictures the 4th station.
The picture shows some travellers crossing the bridge to a village where, according to Wikipedia, some waitresses are beckoning the travellers to enter the restaurant there.
The stamp shows a Japanese playing card for a game called Hyakunin isshu, popularly played over New Year. I don't begin to understand it.