National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with funds donated by Allan Myers AO and Maria Myers AO, 2012
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Gordon Darling Foundation
During the Edo period the Tokugawa Shogunate relaxed domestic travel restrictions and journeys along Japan’s great walking highways became popular themes in the arts. This large porcelain plate is a brilliant example of this travel boom and depicts the 53 check point towns (plus Edo and Kyoto) along Japans most famous roadway ‘The Tokaido’. On the outer right side of the plate we depart from Edo’s Nihonbashi Bridge and make our way in a spiral through all the 53 stations of the old Tokaido road finishing in the centre of the plate at Kyoto’s famed Sanjo Ohashi Bridge. The design resembles that of an old style board game adding to the feeling of fun and adventure had along the journey. The detail in each small circle and the tiny script represents a town along the Tokaido with miniature landscapes bearing similarities to Hiroshige’s well known woodblock series of the same theme.