Wagtail and Wisteria

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760-1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1834
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 24.8 x 18.2 cm (9 3/4 x 7 3/16 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, bird, chuban, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, ukiyo-e, wisteria, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

Hokusai designed kacho (flower-and-bird) prints of extraordinary quality. His prints often display exceptional finesse in their block engraving and printing that reflects the technical improvements stimulated by the production of privately commissioned surimono in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. This print, an unusually beautiful impression of an elegant design, comes from a set from which six other designs are known. The wisteria hangs downward with subtly varied color, while the wagtail's tail points upward, framing a Chinese poem by Qian Qi (circa 722-780):

Stretching creepers emerge from cloudy trees,
Their dangling ropes cover the nesting crane.

(Translation of poem by Stephen D. Allee)

Published References
  • Gian Carlo Calza. Hokusai. Exh. cat. London and New York. V.46.8.
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 115, p. 86.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 91, p. 134.
  • Ann Yonemura, with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 130, pp. 314-315.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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