Wagtail and Wisteria

Artist: Katsushika Hokusai θ‘›ι£ΎεŒ—ζ–Ž (1760-1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1834
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 24.8 x 18.2 cm (9 3/4 x 7 3/16 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, bird, chuban, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, ukiyo-e, wisteria
Provenance research underway.

Hokusai designed kacho (flower-and-bird) prints of extraordinary quality. His prints often display exceptional finesse in their block engraving and printing that reflects the technical improvements stimulated by the production of privately commissioned surimono in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. This print, an unusually beautiful impression of an elegant design, comes from a set from which six other designs are known. The wisteria hangs downward with subtly varied color, while the wagtail's tail points upward, framing a Chinese poem by Qian Qi (circa 722-780):

Stretching creepers emerge from cloudy trees,
Their dangling ropes cover the nesting crane.

(Translation of poem by Stephen D. Allee)

Published References
  • Gian Carlo Calza. Hokusai. Exh. cat. London and New York. V.46.8.
  • Ann Yonemura, Nagata Seiji, Kobayashi Tadashi, Asano Shugo, Timothy Clark, Naito Masatoshi. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 115, p. 86.
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 91, p. 134.
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 130, pp. 314-315.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.