The First Day of Spring (Risshun), from the series Fashionable Poetic Immortals of the Four Seasons (Fūzoku shiki Kasen)
Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1725–1770)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
11 x 8 1/4 in. (27.9 x 21 cm)
Henry L. Phillips Collection, Bequest of Henry L. Phillips, 1939
Not on view
A young man with a sword tucked into his sash looks up at a young woman in the doorway as he gestures toward a bitter-orange (daidai) tree in the garden. The artist puns on a classical poem by Fujiwara no Shunzei (1114–1204) that refers to opening the gates of the heavens (ama no to) by showing a young woman opening rain shutters (amado). The poem reads:
Ama no to no akuru keshiki mo , shizuka nite kumoi yori koso haru wa tachikere
As the gates of heavens open, quietly a splendid scene appears as spring arrives from the palace of the clouds. —Trans. John T. Carpenter
Signature: Harunobu ga
Henry L. Phillips , Hyannisport, MA (until d. 1939; bequeathed to MMA).
Chiba City Museum of Art. "Suzuki Harunobu (1725–1770)," September 14, 2002–October 20, 2002.