|Yoshimura Kōbun (1793–1863 Japan), Surimono with plum branch and rising sun, 1858. Color woodcut on paper, 7 1/8" x 9 3/4" (18.1 x 24.8 cm). © Brooklyn Museum. (BMA-2634)|
|Unknown Japanese artist, Surimono with list of auspicious calendar dates, 1867. Color woodcut on paper, 7 1/8" x 9 3/4" (18.1 x 24.8 cm). © Brooklyn Museum. (BMA-2701)|
This card features a traditional Japanese umbrella that was sometimes used during festivals. I’m not sure if that is a prayer slip hanging from it, but the lists to the left are auspicious calendar dates for the coming year. Traditionally, there are auspicious dates in Japan for every activity, sometimes based on the day/month numbers (such as 7 July or 8 August). These days cover everything from auspicious days for weddings, business meetings, births, and even deaths.
|Unknown Japanese artist, Surimono with carp leaping in water, ca. 1860. Color woodcut on paper, 7" x 9 7/8" (17,9 x 25.1 cm). © Brooklyn Museum. (BMA-2630)|
What better symbol for the new year than the noble carp (koi)? After all, this fish does symbolize courage, persistence, success, and strength of character, based on its habit of swimming upstream and up waterfalls in order to mate (learn more in my post about the Noble Carp). I always love the delicacy of the use of color in some of these Ukiyo-e type woodcuts. The hint of an orange glow in the sky is gorgeous.
Correlations to Davis programs: Explorations in Art Grade 4: Connections; Explorations in Art Grade 5: 5.29, 5.30; Explorations in Art Grade 6: 5.28; A Personal Journey: 4.2; A Community Connection: 1.2, 8.2; A Global Pursuit: 7.5; Communicating Through Graphic Design: 1; The Visual Experience: 9.4, 13.5; Discovering Art History: 2.2, 4.4