Poppies, c. 1833-1834

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Poppies were introduced to Japan during the Muromachi period (1392–1573) from China, where they had been cultivated as early as the 7th century. Hokusai’s poppies appear to be blown by the wind. Their tall, flexible stems and stiff, serrated leaves have been deftly captured. The prickly roughness of the blue-gray leaves is suggested by black stippling, while subtly darker veining on the petals conveys the flowers’ paperlike delicacy. The pale blue background implies clear, sunny weather, conducive to ripening the seedpods that complete the growth cycle. Petals on one blossom have already fallen, leaving only the seedpod. Such details would seem to indicate Hokusai’s close observation of actual poppies.

Artist Life
1760 - 1849
Accession Number
Masa-aki; Eugène Mutiaux; Demaree C. Bess (until 1962); Nathan Chaikin (around 1962); Richard P. Gale (1962'-1974)
Catalogue Raisonne
Ukiyo-e shūka 16 (1981), p. 229, horizontal ōban #23.02
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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