Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858)
New Year’s Eve Foxfires at the Changing Tree, Ōji
From the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1857
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Gift of James A. Michener, 1991
In addition to its importance in the context of Buddhism, Ōji district was also praised as a sacred site by Shinto devotees. Here, Hiroshige shows supernatural foxes (kitsune) - shape-shifting creatures that occasionally assumed human form – gathering beneath a sacred tree. The flames hovering beside them are flashes of foxfire (kitsunebi), with which the animals can beguile humans.
View info on museum database (enabled through support by the Robert F. Lange Foundation)