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Fujiwara Nobuyoshi
Figures Viewing Cherry Blossoms
About 1800-1840
Color on paper

This scroll is far removed from the high court culture associated with Tale of Genji imagery, but the seasonal imagery, in this case spring, is no less important. Hanami, or "flower viewing," was and still is a favorite springtime activity in Japan. As this scroll reveals, the appearance of cherry blossoms was an occasion for much celebration. Throngs of people gather to enjoy the blossoms and their fragrance while vendors in temporary stalls sell food and drink of various sorts.

Genre painting, which takes scenes of everyday life as its subject, demanded special skills of the artist. Nobuyoshi successfully captures the gaiety of the season, and this festival in particular, through his lively and decorative use of bright colors. He also demonstrates thorough knowledge of the popular hairstyles and fashions of the time. With festival imagery such as this, it was important that the artist represent people of all classes, ages, and occupations. Nobuyoshi's painting is particularly successful on this point.

Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ackland Fund; 84.39.1

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Copyright (c) 2000, Mayumi Ishida, All Rights Reserved Last Updated: April 11, 2000