Man Strolling with a Boy Carrying Flowering Branch

Man Strolling with a Boy Carrying Flowering Branch

c. 1810

Kitagawa Fujimaro 喜多川 藤麿

(Japanese, 1790-1850)

Hanging scroll; ink and color on silk

Overall: 180.4 x 48.3 cm (71 x 19 in.); Painting only: 94 x 31 cm (37 x 12 3/16 in.)

The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith 1985.256

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Description

A young man strolls in front of a boy carrying flowering plum branches, perhaps symbolic of spring. The colors and patterns in the boy’s clothing, along with the plum branches at the edge of the painting, introduce an element of movement and surprise. This image is similar to the composition of Courtesans and Attendants by Engetsudo (see 1985.255). The poem inscribed at the top reads: The full blooming cherry is not the only flower worth mentioning. The color of the young plum tree blooms as well. The Japanese word for color, iro, is a double entendre for love or sex. The full blooming cherry refers to the mature female courtesans of the Yoshiwara district of Edo (Tokyo), while the young plum refers to handsome young men, who the poet suggests one not overlook in the pursuit of pleasure. Kitagawa Fujimaro was a disciple of renowned painter and print designer Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?–1806).

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