The print shows tall bamboo decorated with cutout ornaments and paper streamers bearing wishes above Tokyo’s rooftops during the festival, which begins on July 7. Tanabata, or “evening of the seventh,” honors the yearly meeting of two deities/stars/lovers, Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair).
“Blossom time in Tokyo,” ca. 1914, a woodcut print by Helen Hyde, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Helen Hyde grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and studied at the California School of Design and in Europe. While in Paris, she was influenced by Mary Cassatt’s early works, which made use of Japanese perspective and pattern and featured the intimate lives of women and children. In 1899, she moved to Tokyo, where she studied woodblock printing techniques. She lived there until 1914.
“Higurashi no sato jiin no rinsen” (Temple Gardens, Nippori), 1857, a woodblock print by Andō Hiroshige, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
The view is from Ueno Hill of Shūsō-in, one of three Buddhist temple gardens known as Hanamidera or Flower-viewing Temples. This print is one of fifty in an album of Edo (present day Tokyo) by Hiroshige.
There’s a nice essay on cherishing the brief beauty of the cherry blossoms by Diane Durston in today’s Washington Post, here.
The cherry trees in our neighborhood here in Stuttgart have just begun to bloom this week.
Cherry blossoms (sakura) in Tokyo are expected to open on March 30 this year, with the peak bloom being about April 6 to 15.
The Washington Post has predicted this year’s peak bloom to be about April 9.
*Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.