Firefly Viewing Party, c. 1818-1829

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Hotarugari (firefly viewing) is a popular summer pastime in Japan. These small insects produce flashes of light-which can be seen at night-during the hot months when they breed. Since they live near water, firefly viewing had an added attraction: the cool night breezes off the water brought relief from the heat. The people depicted in this print have hired a boat to take them out on the water. Those in the bow reach towards the fireflies with their fans, attempting to sweep them closer. Those in the center of the boat are drinking and chatting convivially. An attendant blows on a portable stove, attempting to keep a small fire alive so that he can prepare a snack for the group. Twenty-nine haiku poems on the theme of summer are printed in the upper portion of the print.

Firefly Viewing Party
Accession Number
Imao Keinen 今尾景年; Charles H. Mitchell (1963-1977)
Curator Approved

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