Hiroshige, Kyobashi Bridge and Bamboo Yards (1857)
A pictograph of bridge, moon and merchant
caught Whistler’s eye. We are drawn instead
to the presaged skyline of our time, the burdened
nets of rationed clouds, the hard-edged
rampart of vertical wealth that sheers Central
Park in many photos and films. Doubtful
Edo’s bamboo stocks climbed our colossal
norm, yet the travellers on the aural
arc are likewise scaped by grey torrent.
The artist swells the view to shine the lone
boatsman’s take of his unimportant
fate, and beckons dual perceptions by one
strangeness. Their path is what their view will mould.
Afloat, his mind becomes our world foretold.
Hiroshige, Morning View, Nihonbashi
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