(Flowering plums in snow), c. 1818-1829

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Flowering plum is the quintessential image of early spring in Japan. While cherry blossoms represent the height of spring, plum flowers are the harbinger of the long-waited season since its flowers open even before the leaves unfurl. Yamaoka Geppø, a painter and haiku poet, captured the beauty of the seasonal transition with the eyes of a poet. As if reflecting upon his own eagerness for spring, he depicted the flowering plum covered by snow, suggesting the earliest blossoms when snow still might fall. The stark contrast between the red flowers and the white snow, a color combination traditionally used for celebrations, evokes a sense of happiness. Shiny white pigments known as gofun, flecked onto the print's surface faintly obscure the tips of some branches adding a subdued brightness to the scene.

(Flowering plums in snow)
Artist Life
1760 - 1839
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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