Suidō Bridge and Surugadai, 1857, intercalary 5th month

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The carp-shaped streamers, white flags, and red wind cones shown here flying above gray roof tiles are decorations associated with celebrations on the fifth day of the fifth month. Originating in China, Tango festival was introduced to Japan in the eighth century as a day to wish for the good health over the coming summer months. Under Japan's first samurai regime in the fourteenth century, the festival was expanded to include wishes for the strength and good fortune of boys and young men-the future warriors of the country. Carp-shaped streamers, koi-nobori in Japanese, symbolize the great potential of male children because ancient Chinese believed that strong carp that swam upstream against the strong current turned into dragons. In this print, the square flags are emblazoned with images of Shøki, a Chinese scholar who vowed to rid the realm of evil. Thus, Shøki, became an emblem of male determination and courage.

Suidō Bridge and Surugadai
Artist Life
1797 - 1858
Accession Number
Catalogue Raisonne
Ukiyo-e shūka 14 (1981), Hiroshige list, p. 250, vertical ōban #62.55
Curator Approved

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