Erecting scaffolding

Kidai Shoran (detail) © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin), former collection of Hans-Joachim and Inge Küster, gift of Manfred Bohms 2002, photography: Tadao Kodaira

The wooden sign on the fence of the construction site of Kiya Kōshichi says the shop is open for business during construction in the rear storehouse. This was a familiar scene in Edo, where fires were frequent and fortunes rose and fell. The handcart is loaded with stones to support the pillars, suggesting that full-scale construction is underway. The tobi workmen sing the kiyari chant while erecting the scaffolding so that they all pull on the ropes in unison.