Autumn at Asakusa; Viewing Cherry blossoms at Ueno Park

Artist: Hishikawa Moronobu 菱川師宣 (1618-1694)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 17th century
Ink, color, and gold on paper
H x W (.266): 179.9 x 382.3 cm (70 13/16 x 150 1/2 in) H x W (.267): 180 x 382.2 cm (70 7/8 x 150 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Screens (six-panel)

autumn, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, ukiyo-e

To 1906
Bunkio Matsuki (1867-1940), Boston, to 1906 [1]

From 1906 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunkio Matsuki in 1906 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Screen List, L. 118, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Bunkio Matsuki (C.L. Freer source) 1867-1940


In March 1657 a fire destroyed much of the city of Edo (Tokyo). More than one hundred thousand people perished in the blaze or in the snowstorm that immediately followed. Fashions distinctive to the late seventeenth century are clearly evident among the nearly four hundred figures populating the expanse of this painting. Thus, these screens, painted in the artist's final years, should be understood as Moronobu's celebration of the seasonal pleasures of a resurrected and vital metropolis.

The right-hand screen depicts autumn activities. In the foreground is Kannonji Temple and the surrounding environment of Asakusa. In the upper left, above this scene, boats traverse the Sumida River to the opposite bank, where the pleasure houses of Mukojima await visitors. The left-hand screen shows throngs enjoying the cherry blossoms in the Ueno area. The Kaneiji Temple is at the far left, and Shinobazu Pond is in the foreground.

Hishikawa Moronobu, born into a family of textile designers, is regarded by some as a progenitor of the ukiyo-e style (art depicting contemporary life and pleasures) that flourished during the Edo period (1615-1868). He consolidated disparate genre painting styles into a canon that influenced several generations of artists.

Published References
  • James T. Ulak, Howard Kaplan, Dr. Julian Raby. Cherry Blossoms. New York, NY, March 3, 2015. .
  • Genshoku Ukiyo-e dai hyakka jiten. Tokyo, 1980-1982. vol. 5: p. 33.
  • Keiko Kawamoto. Nihon byobue shusei. 18 vols., Tokyo, 1977-1982. vol. 13: pl. 105.
  • et al. Nikuhitsu Ukiyo-e. 10 vols., Tokyo. vol. 2: p. 47, pl. 10, 81.
  • Ukiyo-e Shuka. 19 vols., Tokyo, 1978-1985. vol. 16 (1981): pl. 11-12.
  • Zaigai hiho [(Japanese Paintings in Western Collections]. 3 vols., Tokyo. vol. 3: pt. II, p. 28, vol. 3, pt. I, pls. 22, 23.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 47, vol. 2: p. 167.
  • Ann McClellan. The Cherry Blossom Festival. Boston. pp. 6-7.
  • Elisabeth West FitzHugh. A Pigment Census of Ukiyo-e Paintings in the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 11 Washington and Ann Arbor, 1979. pp. 27-38.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 22, pp. 52-55.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 126.
  • Yoshiaki Shimizu. An Individual Taste for Japanese Painting. vol. 118, no. 258 London, August 1983. pp. 136-149, fig. 14.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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