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Japanese White-eyes on a Branch of Peach Tree,” from the Series An Array of Birds (Tori awase), from Spring Rain Surimono Album (Harusame surimono-jō, vol. 3)

Kubo Shunman (Japanese, 1757–1820)

Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
ca. 1805–10
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Privately published polychrome woodblock prints (surimono) mounted in an album; ink and color on paper
Dimensions:
8 3/16 x 5 3/8 in. (20.8 x 13.7 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Accession Number:
JP2293
  • Description

    Surimono are privately published woodblock prints, usually commissioned by poets or poetry groups as a form of New Year’s greeting card. The poems, most commonly kyōka (witty thirty-one syllable verse), inscribed on the prints usually include felicitous imagery connected with spring, which in the lunar calendar begins on the first day of the first month. Themes of surimono are often erudite, frequently alluding to Japanese literary classics in both texts and images.

    This album belongs to a set of three compiled by Hayashi Tadamasa, the great Parisian dealer of Japanese art. Hayashi arranged the more than four hundred prints in the set on facing leaves according to themes, or in a way that created an attractive arrangement of designs, complementary in both color and shape. The pigments, printing techniques, and paper used for surimono often were of the highest quality, and represent the epitome of late Edo-period woodblock printing.

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    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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