The City Flourishes: The Industrial Development of Edo

Alongside scenes of Edo’s natural beauty and testaments to the brilliance of its engineers, other works from Hiroshige’s series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (1856–59) praise the city’s industrial development, particularly in the fields of manufacturing, tourism, and entertainment. Pottery kilns and textile studios are shown in a way that exudes a sense of pride and accomplishment. As home to some of the most prestigious Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in the nation, much of Edo’s tourist industry encouraged pilgrimages by religious devotees. Like any metropolis, the capital also offered more worldly forms of entertainment, including performances at Kabuki theaters and female companionship in the city’s venues for prostitution. Through liberal use of one-point perspective, Hiroshige emphasizes Edo’s economic triumph by presenting street after street of seemingly endless commercial activity.