柳々居辰斎画 紅梅 Spring Rain Collection (Harusame shū), vol. 1: Plum Tree in Bloom
Ryūryūkyo Shinsai (Japanese, active ca. 1799–1823)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Privately published woodblock prints (surimono) mounted in an album; ink and color on paper
8 1/4 x 5 1/2 in. (21 x 14 cm)
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929
Not on view
Surimono are privately published woodblock prints, usually commissioned by individual 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.
The blossoming of the plum tree was a harbinger of spring, the beginning of the New Year in the lunar calendar.