Aug 14, 2014

The Snowy Garden

The Snowy Garden


Utagawa Hiroshige 歌川 広重

(Japanese, 1797-1858)

Utagawa Kunisada 歌川 国貞

(Japanese, 1786-1865)

Triptych of color woodblock prints, ink and color on paper

Sheet: 35.6 x 75 cm (14 x 29 1/2 in.)

Bequest of James Parmelee 1940.989



These prints depict an episode from A Rustic Genji, a Japanese graphic novel based on the 11th-century classic The Tale of Genji. Three maidservants are making a giant snow rabbit while the protagonist of A Rustic Genji, Ashikaga Jiro Mitsuuji, stands in the snow with a woman who is possibly his lover. Stylistic hallmarks tell us that Utagawa Kunisada was responsible for the figures and the giant snow rabbit and Utagawa Hiroshige designed the background landscape. This collaboration—both artists signed the prints—on a Genji-related work targeted a broader audience by capitalizing on each artist’s individual strengths.

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