Lovers with a Bird Cage

Maker(s)
Artist: Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信 (1724-1770)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1766-67
Medium
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
H x W (overall): 28 x 20.8 cm (11 x 8 3/16 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2004.3.22
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Print
Type

Woodblock print

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

A young woman presents a caged bird to her suitor, who slips a love letter into her hand. The elegant cusped form of the window frame replicates a Chinese architectural style that became a luxurious element of some upper-class Japanese residences. Through the window with its paper-covered shoji drawn aside, a blossoming plum branch suggests that the season is the New Year, which occurs during the lunar calendar in late January or early February. Visits would have been customary during this time of year, and the young couple has taken advantage of a rare opportunity to meet. Harunobu's print designs are beautifully composed and exploit the aesthetic potential of full-color printing, which was first seen in Japanese prints in 1765.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 107, pp. 268-269.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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