Polychrome woodblock print with embossing (karazuri); ink and color on paper
Image: 12 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. (32.4 x 21 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1929
Not on view
In this print, one of Harunobu's most poetic images, a nymphlike beauty dressed in an elegant kimono stands holding a lantern and gazing dreamily at the plum blossoms. The image of admiring plum blossoms at night is a classical theme in the East Asian poetic tradition, and Harunobu's lyrical rendition has much in common with the art of the Heian period (794–1185). The stylized shape of the cloud at the top of the print reinforces the classical references. Harunobu and his patrons from the elite merchant and samurai classes in the capital, Edo (now Tokyo), admired the literary and cultural tradition of Kyoto, which was the capital during the Heian period.
In this print the artist applied one of the techniques of embossing uncolored areas. To emphasize their softness, the inner layers of the kimono and tabi socks worn by the woman are raised on the paper.