Swallows and Budding Wild Cherry

Utagawa Hiroshige Japanese

Not on view

The poem is unsigned, as is often the case with poems on Hiroshige’s bird-and-flower prints, but the verse is known to be by Takarai Kikaku (Enomoto Kikaku, 1661–1707), a professional poet who numbered among the top disciples of Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694). Swallows (tsubame) are common subjects in haikai set in spring, as in this example:

山の端に 乙鳥をかへす 入日かな 宝井其角

Yama no ha ni
tsubame o kaesu
irihi kana

The setting sun—
over the mountain ridge
sends the swallows home.
—Trans. John T. Carpenter

Swallows and Budding Wild Cherry, Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, Tokyo (Edo) 1797–1858 Tokyo (Edo)), Woodblock print, Japan

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