Ukiyo-e, comparison of quality and authenticity.

While in Japan in September 2013 I visited Asakusa, Sensoji.  While walking down the Nakamise I found a shop specialising in Ukiyo-e.  It was like being a kid in a lolly shop.  Despite wanting to spend hundreds of dollars I had to settle for one thing.  (nod my head to my lovely wife) I bought a hagaki set of the Hiroshige, 53 stages of the Tokaido, something I had wanted to buy for a while.

I know the basic history of the famous woodblock art and I also know about the many fakes that circulate the globe. Admittedly, I am no expert when it comes to art history but I was able to find a few discrepancies while scanning through google images and found quite a few copies of the 1st print, the Nihonbashi bridge.

Here is my copy.

Image (6)-2

Here is one more.


And one more.


If you compare my image with the second one you can see there is a bit of colouring difference, especially with the fence, bridge and clouds.  If you compare the third image, although it seems to be on older paper and similar in colouring to mine it has no clouds.

One important point I would like to mention is that all the signatures seem to be there on all images however it is only mine that has the date stamp on the left side of the print.  I am not sure if has been cut off of the other two prints or not.  I love history as you all know and I love Ukiyo-e, we must all be careful when we research and think whether something is true or not.

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