Ryogoku Bridge

Artist: Utagawa Toyoharu (1735-1814)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, early 19th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 72.6 Ɨ 186 cm (28 9/16 Ɨ 73 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

bridge, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, river, ukiyo-e, water

To 1903
Bunshichi Kobayashi (circa 1861-1923), Boston, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Yokohama, to 1903 [1]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunshichi Kobayashi in 1903 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Panel List, pg. 8, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Kobayashi Bunshichi (C.L. Freer source) ca. 1861-1923


Spanning the broad Sumida River, the Ryogoku Bridge was a popular site for entertainment in Edo (modern Tokyo). In this detailed panoramic view, the artist Toyoharu focuses on activities along the west bank of the river, where people representing many classes of society and whose status is distinguished by their dress, stroll to and from the bridge along a roadway lined with shops. Pleasure boats make their way beneath the bridge. The pagoda and roof of the Sensoji, a temple in Asakusa dedicated to the Buddhist deity Kannon, appears in the distance to the left of the bridge. Although space is compressed in this view, the artist endeavored to render a contemporary scene with realism and accuracy. He employs some of the principles of perspective found in European art that had begun to interest Japanese artists beginning in the eighteenth century.

Published References
  • Shizuya Fujikaka. Ukiyoe no kenkyu [Study on Ukiyoe]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2: pl. 266.
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 3: pt. II, p. 75, vol. 3, pt. I, pl. 71.
  • Ukiyo-e Shuka. 19 vols., Tokyo, 1978-1985. vol. 16 (1981): pl. 35.
  • Kobayashi Tadashi. é€±åˆŠćƒ‹ćƒƒćƒćƒ³ć®ęµ®äø–ēµµ100 (Great masters of Ukiyoe Art). Vol. 28 Tokyo, Japan, April 22, 2022. p. 23-24.
  • The Hotei Encyclopedia of Japanese Woodblock Prints. 2 vols., Amsterdam. p. 29.
  • James R. Brandon, Mildred S. Friedman. Tokyo, Form and Spirit. Exh. cat. Minneapolis and New York. p. 35.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 74, pp. 200-201.
  • , T. K. Sabapathy, Maurizio Peleggi. Eye of the Beholder: Reception, Audience, and Practice of Modern Asian Art. University of Sydney East Asian series, 15 Sydney. p. 304, fig. 14.3.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.