Birds on a Cherry Branch Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858)

8th month, 1859

Asian Art

歌川広重 山櫻 浮世絵錦絵 江戸時代

Born into the Andō samurai family, Utagawa Hiroshige was educated in calligraphy, literature, painting, and poetry, all of which became important elements of his work. In this print, three Japanese white-eyes perch on a cherry branch while a bunting flies below. The haiku written vertically on the right reads, "Let’s break off a branch / to show off to people, / mountain cherries." In pre-Edo times, many courtiers wrote waka poems on the theme of cherry trees blooming in the mountains to share the beauty and enjoyment of seeing them with those who could not do so themselves. During the Edo period, however, Edo residents, nicknamed edokko, became known for their civic pride and competitive spirit, both with those living in Kyoto and with each other. Hiroshige’s poem highlights the desire of the edokko to flaunt such scenic cherry-blossom experiences to others.


Ukiyo-e: polychrome woodblock print


sheet: 10 3/8 × 7 3/8 in. (26.4 × 18.7 cm)

Credit Line

Yale University Art Gallery

Accession Number



Edo period (1615–1868)


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Acquired by the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1969
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

color woodcuts


birds (animals)


Ichiryūsai 一立斎 ((gourd-shaped, relief, lower left after the signature)


いさ折天 人中見世ん 山桜\r\niza orite/ hitonaka misen/ yamazakura\r\nLet’s break off a branch to show off to people, mountain cherries.\r\n


“Hiroshige hitsu” (“brushed by Hiroshige”) 廣重筆 (lower left)

Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

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