Famous Edo Spots and a Hundred Beautiful Women, Yushima Tenjin (Edo Meisho Hyakunin Bijyo Yushima Tenjin)
Painted by Utagawa Toyokuni III and Utagawa Kunihisa II 1857 (Ansei 4) Tokyo Shiryō Collection 025-C1-32

A piece from "Famous Edo Spots and a Hundred Beautiful Women" series. The picture in the small frame at the upper right (called koma-e) shows a scene of Yushima Tenjin. The beautiful woman in the center of the nishiki-e (colored woodblock print) is in the middle of writing practice. Yushima Tenjin is a shrine sacred to Sugawara no Michizane, the god of learning. The combination of learning and a beautiful woman makes this nishiki-e very unique.

Both beautiful women and famous spots are popular themes of ukiyo-e (woodblock prints). The series of "Edo Meisho Hyakunin Bijyo" put them together – a woman as a main theme with scenery in the background as a koma-e – to make a picture. Toyokuni III drew the woman and Kunihisa who was an apprentice to Toyokuni I and good at bijin-ga (portraits of beautiful women) drew the koma-e. They successfully added a new idea to the bijin-ga by relating it to the customs of the famous spots.
While this ukiyo-e is a combination of the Yushima Tenjin, a famous spot, and a beautiful woman, there was another spot, Shōheizaka school, school of the Shogunate, in Yushima. Sugawara no Michizane, who is enshrined at Tenjin shrine, was beginning to be worshiped as the god of learning in the Edo period. Yushima's image of learning seemed to have become stronger not only because of Tenjin shrine (shrine of learning) but also because of existence of the Shogunate's school.