Mallard Ducks and Snow-covered Reeds

Utagawa Hiroshige Japanese

Not on view

Interestingly, Hiroshige used this same haikai (seventeen-syllable seasonal poem) on other prints of the same theme. This work has a seal that reads “Tōryō” (藤夌), though the poet’s identity is still unknown. In contrast to the conventional cursive script of the poem’s inscription, here the characters are rendered in kanji that must be read phonetically:

鴨鳴屋 風吹思和無 水廼遠毛 
(鴨鳴や 風吹しはむ 水のをも) 
Kamo naku ya
kaze fuki-shiwamu
mizu no omo

A duck quacks—
as the wind wrinkles
the face of the water.
—Trans. John T. Carpenter

Mallard Ducks and Snow-covered Reeds, Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1797–1858 Tokyo (Edo)), Woodblock print, Japan

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