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: Puppies in the Snow

Puppies in the Snow

Woodblock print
Artist: Isoda Koryūsai 磯田湖竜斎 (1735-1790)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1778
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 25.6 x 18.2 cm (10 1/16 x 7 3/16 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
Koryusai established kachoga-which had a long history as a subject of Chinese and Japanese painting-as an important subject of Japanese prints. He produced some 150 designs of flowers, birds, and animals. In one of his most charming designs, seven puppies huddle together under a shelter that protects a blossoming narcissus from the snow. The print also incorporates references to 1778, the year in which the print was published. Each year in the cycle of twelve years was associated with an animal of the zodiac; 1778 was the Year of the Dog, as was the seventh year of the An'ei era (1772-81), which is represented by the seven puppies. Calendar prints like this example were distributed as gifts at the beginning of the New Year, which on the lunar calendar fell in mid- to late February when narcissus began to bloom but snow might still fall.
Provenance information is currently unavailable
On View Location
Currently not on view
Anne van Biema collection, dog, Eastern zodiac, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, narcissus, shikishi, snow, ukiyo-e, WWII-era provenance
Collection(s) Area
Japanese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer|Sackler is currently closed for renovations, updates, and gallery reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Please join us for our weekend-long reopening celebration on October 14 and 15, 2017.