Setsugekka [Snow, Moon and Flowers]: Moon over Mutsu

Accession Number

Setsugekka [Snow, Moon and Flowers]: Moon over Mutsu

Toyohara Chikanobu

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
late 19th century

Medium & Support
color woodblock print on paper

14 in. x 9 9/16 in. ( 35.6 cm x 24.3 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Pearl Sellards

Label copy
Toyohara Chikanobu
Japan, 1838–1912
Snow, Moon, Flowers: Mutsu, Moon, Princess Katami, and
Asahina (Setsugekka: Mutsu, Tsuki, Katami-hime, Asahina)
Meiji period (1868–1912)
1885, March
Color woodblock print on paper
Gift of Pearl Sellards, 1985/1.176

This print belongs to the genre of mitate-e (meaning “see and
compare” images) prints, which contain multiple layers of
meaning for the viewer to puzzle out, both within individual
works and sometimes across a group of works. Each print in
this series is connected to a season through images of snow
(winter), the moon (autumn), or flowers (spring). This work
features two moons: the bright orb framed by two castles
in the background of the main scene and the framed circle
that echoes it above. The text inside the circle mentions the
moon, names the main characters, and describes a location
in Japan—Mutsu, which is in northern Honshu (the main
island of present-day Japan). The other prints in the series
are also linked to locations.

The print’s main subject is based on an episode from a
kabuki (Japan’s traditional theater) play. The primary scene
depicts the nighttime encounter of the thirteenth-century
warrior Wada Asahina Saburo¯ Yoshihide with Princess
Katami as she attempts to escape the castle at Hirosaki in
a wooden tub. Yoshihide was said to have met a variety of
strange people during his travels: Ashinaga (meaning "long legs") and
Tenaga (meaning "long arms"), who used their unique attributes to
fish together, are seen in the inset at the top left.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
color print

Collection Area

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1 Related Resource

Celestial bodies
(Part of: Natural World)

& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted