(Japanese, d. 1830)
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
The handsome youth in the painting is accompanied by a boy carrying a plum branch.
Many ukiyo-e paintings and prints focus on bijin (美人), or “beautiful people.” Female courtesans and entertainers were the main draw in the pleasure district of Edo (now Tokyo), but young men were also available. The poem here reads as follows: "The full blooming cherry / is not the only flower worth mentioning. / The color of the young plum tree / blooms as well."
The full blooming cherry is a metaphor for mature women, and the plum for young men.
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