Kingfisher and Viburnum, early 1840s

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Hiroshige created several prints featuring a kingfisher amid irises. Here, however, he paired the bird with hydrangeas, a flowering bush that blossoms in July and is associated with Japan's rainy season. While the Chinese have traditionally admired the kingfisher for its bright blue plummage, in Japan it is often used to symbolize vanity. Hiroshige suggests as much in the accompanying poem:

The kingfisher
preening his feathers
in a watery mirror.

Kingfisher and Viburnum
Artist Life
1797 - 1858
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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