Tea Pickers, c. 1830-1844

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The Japanese begin to harvest tea in early summer. Shincha, the first tea of the season, is made by using only the fresh yaoung leaves. It is highly prized for its delicate, fresh flavor and bright green color. Harvesters must carefully pluck the tender buds without damaging them. Consequently, this work is traditionally done by women whose gentle touch and small hands are more adept at this painstaking process. Here, Kagen depicts two tea pickers to accompany poems about summer. Dressed appropriately for the task, they wear indigo-dyed or simple striped kimonos and arm covers to protect their forearms from scratches. The bright red cords that bind their wide sleeves and the sash worn by one of the women contrasts beautifully with their plain outfits.

Tea Pickers
Artist Life
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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