Collection Created By: Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Katsushika Hokusai, Japanese, 1760–1849
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yohachi (Eijudô), Japanese
Peonies and Canary (Shakuyaku, kanaari), from an untitled series known as Small Flowers
The Japanese art of Ukiyo-e (“Pictures of the floating [or sorrowful] world”) developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) during the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1600-1868), a relatively peaceful era during which the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan and made Edo the seat of power. The Ukiyo-e tradition of woodblock printing and painting continued into the 20th century. This print, made in 1833 or 1834, is part of the series "Small Flowers" by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). It is unusual in its background color and its size. Other examples of this print, found in the British Museum and the Tokyo National Museum, have an intense blue background. It is similar to a print in the James A. Michener Collection in the Honolulu Academy of Arts and, like it, has a combination of censor's and artist's seals.