A Picture of the Ten-Thousand Year Bridge in Suzhou
Rai Sanyo (Japanese, 1780 – 1832)
DateEarly 19th century
Mediumink, pigment on paper
DimensionsWork : 66 x 39 3/4 x 1 1/4 in. (1.7 m x 1 m x 3.18 cm)
Credit LineHope College Collection
LabelThis painting faithfully copies an 18th-century Chinese woodblock print depicting the Ten-Thousand Year Bridge that was constructed in the city of Suzhou in 1740. The original print was produced to commemorate the opening of the bridge and to celebrate Suzhou's vibrant commercial economy. It provides a fascinating glimpse into Qing-dynasty Chinese urban life and expands our understanding of architecture, clothing, furnishings and other aspects of material culture from that time. Impressions of the print were disseminated throughout China and some even managed to reach foreign countries, including Japan. The print that served as the model for this painting probably entered Japan through the port city of Nagasaki, which was the primary hub of Sino-Japanese trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. The painting was created by artist Rai Sanyo, a famous poet, philosopher and painter whose literary and artistic creations were often heavily influenced by Chinese culture. An impression of the original print is currently preserved in the Kobe City Museum in Japan.