New Year: Spring

Maker(s): Keisai Eisen
Culture: Japanese (1790-1848)
Title: New Year: Spring
Type: Print
Materials: Woodblock print (woodcut); Aizuri-e (blue print), Ink and colors on paper
Place Made: Asia; Japan
Measurements: Sheet/Image: 14 15/16 in x 10 1/4 in; 37.9 cm x 26 cm
Narrative Inscription: SIGNATURE: recto, ctr. l. (blue ink): [Japanese character, Eisen ga]; SEAL: recto, ctr. l. (stamp with red ink): [Japanese character, [ill.]]; SEAL: recto, ctr. l. (stamp with red ink): [Japanese character, [ill.]]; INSCRIPTION: recto, ctr. l. (blue ink): [Japanese character, Haru].
Accession Number: MH 1973.221.Q.RII
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Louis C. Black

This Kacho print by Keisai Eisen depicts a young hawk gazing upwards, off the picture plan into the distance as if something has momentarily caught its focus. The upwards gaze juxtaposed with the downwards arc of the blossoming plum tree branch constructs a vibrant composition that suggests movement and flow. Vitality is also injected into this print through the series of curving lines at the top of the composition, which are most apparent in the rising sun but are also echoed by the hawks back and the tree branch above its head. The soft pink of the rising sun and the multiple shades of blue that are infused into the print create a beautiful color contrast that really highlight the small details in composition such as the hawk’s yellow eye, beak, and claws.

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