The landscape tradition as an independent genre was never firmly established in Kamigata printmaking as it had been in Edo, although Osaka artists frequently included abbreviated landscapes as minor motifs in their actor-print designs. Nevertheless, Yoshiykui and a few other late-period Osaka artists designed fûkei-ga (landscape prints: 風景画) in a small number of series, for the most part influenced by Hiroshige. The series Naniwa hyakkei (100 Views of Osaka: 浪花百景) most likely followed closely upon the publication in 1856-58 of Utagawa Hiroshige's Meisho Edo hyakkei (One hundred views of the famous places in Edo: 名所江戸百景).
The original Kyô Bridge was destroyed in 1615 during the Natsu no jin (Summer seige: 夏の陣) waged by the Tokugawa forces against the Toyotomi clan and disaffected samurai defending Osaka Castle. Rebuilt in 1623, the bridge was strategically located at the northern entrance to Osaka Castle and also at the head of the Kyôkaido (京街道), the main route connecting Kyoto with Osaka.
Yoshiyuki's view borrows from one of Hiroshige's graphic devices — framing a landscape with a severely cropped foreground structure of imposing size. Here, the struts and upper span of the bridge provide a striking contrast in scale with the snow-capped buildings along the shore. The observer is thereby given an unexpected and partly obstructed aerial perspective from which to view the distant landscape.
The triple cartouche identifies (R to L) the block cutter, horiko (cut by) Itasada (彫工板定); the publisher, Goryoken; and the artist, Nansui Yoshiyuki ga (drawn by Nansui Yoshiyuki, 南粹芳雪画).
An impression of this edition is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (accession no. 11.35713). That example has more pink at the horizon line, but no blue bokashi (gradation printing) in the upper sky. Our version appears to be an earlier impression.
References: NHT, no. 31; HSK, no. 265; OSP, no. 306