Bunting on a Cherry Blossom Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858)

ca. 1830

Asian Art

歌川広重 桜に頬赤 浮世絵錦絵 江戸時代 

With the emergence of a new urban culture and identity in the nineteenth century, Japanese printmakers often parodied classical Chinese and Japanese poetry. Famous lines by the legendary Chinese poet Bai Juyi (701–762 C.E.) occupy the upper-left corner of this print: "Under the flowers, forgetting to return because of the beautiful scenery. The spring wind encourages me to get drunk in front of the wine cask." These are part of a longer piece reminiscing about the poet’s youthful days spent with friends. However, Utagawa Hiroshige transforms the poetry into a playful visual pun. In place of the young Bai Juyi, a ho’oaka (bunting) rests beneath the cherry blossom, drinking not wine but nectar; ho’oaka literally means "red cheeks," suggesting one who has had too much to drink.


Ukiyo-e: polychrome woodblock print;


sheet: 13 1/2 × 6 7/8 in. (34.3 × 17.5 cm)

Credit Line

Frances Gaylord Smith Collection

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.



Frances Gaylord Smith (Mrs. George T. Smith) Collection; by descent to nephew Gaylord Donnelley (1910–1992) and Dorothy Ranney Donnelley (1910–2002), by 1969; loaned in 1969, and given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1972
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

color woodcuts


Ichiryū-sai 壱立斎 (round, relief, lower right after the signature)\r\n子倍書(?) (rectangular, relief, upper left )\r\n


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

Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

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