Snowy Herons

Title: Snowy Herons

Artist: Hashimoto Koei

Date: 1899

Culture: Japan

Medium: Ink on paper

Work type: color woodcut

Measurements: 37 x 26 cm

Repository: Black Print Collection, Art History Dept, Cummings Arts Center, Connecticut College, New London


The print consists of three herons huddled together in a body of water. The heron on the far left is seen to be facing the other two, with its neck outstretched. The primary use of black and gray, as well as the herons’ huddled bodies imply that the environment is cold and desolate. The herons are shown to be the main subjects of the piece due to the contrast of their large white bodies and bright yellow beaks. This is further enhanced by the background’s change in grayscale, as the values become brighter when closer to the birds. Similarly to Shōrin-zu byōbu’s Pine Trees, Hashimoto Koei plays with the sense of perspective. This is seen in the way the herons’ legs trail off into the water, and feathers are enhanced by methodical creases.

Author: Rachel Park

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