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Dye House at Konya-cho, Kanda

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In Hiroshige's day, anybody who knew Edo could recognize the city's three most prominent landmarks: distant Mount Fuji, Chiyoda Castle, and Nihon Bridge. Thus, the inclusion of the castle nestled in the townscape and Mount Fuji on the horizon leaves no doubt that this is an Edo scene. But while these features were de rigueur in depictions of the capital, positioning the viewpoint amid the windblown textiles of a dyer's drying platform was Hiroshige's innovation. He views Edo from Konya-cho, a street in the tradesmen's section of town where all the professional cloth dyers were clustered.The strips of cloth hanging in the wind are to be cut into tenugui (or towels), which men tie around their heads during the autumn festival. Thus, we know that autumn is depicted here and that the festival is near at hand.Again, cropping is used to thrust the dynamic forms of the foreground subject matter virtually on top of the viewer. The juxtaposition of various sizes of textiles, hanging like banners, lends an animated sense of rhythm to the composition. A small bird flying by itself in the middle of the sky adds a piquant touch.

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