Puppies in the Snow

Artist: Isoda Koryūsai 磯田湖竜斎 (1735-1790)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1778
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
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, dog, Eastern zodiac, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, narcissus, shikishi, snow, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

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.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 129, pp. 312-313.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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