名所江戸百景 王子装束ゑの木大晦日の狐火 New Year's Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Ōji
Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1797–1858 Tokyo (Edo))
Edo period (1615–1868)
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Image: 12 13/16 × 8 5/8 in. (32.5 × 21.9 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1925
Not on view
Foxes gather at the large, old enoki (hackberry) tree on New Year's Eve to prepare to pay homage at the Ōji Inari shrine, the headquarters of the Inari cult in eastern Japan (Kantō). The cult centers on the god of the rice field, for whom the fox serves as messenger. On the way to Ōji, the foxes have set a number of kitsunebi (foxfires), which farmers count to predict the upcoming rice harvest. Hiroshige's print successfully conveys the mysterious atmosphere of the rite as the procession of foxes bearing fires approaches from the distant, dark forest under a starry sky.
Signature: Hiroshige ga
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces from the Permanent Collection," July 2, 2005–November 29, 2005.