Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信 (1725?-1770)
Flowers Do Not Wait
From an untitled series

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), 1767
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
Gift of James A. Michener, 1957

The text that Harunobu uses as a basis for this portfolio, as well as for a similar, monochromatic series known as Modern Paragons of Women (Imayō Tsuma Kagami), is the Collection of Japanese and Chinese Verses (Wakan rōei shū), compiled about the year 1012 by the calligrapher Fujiwara no Yukinari (972-1027). This non-explicit print was the frontispiece of the portfolio. The poem inscribed at the top, written by Ki no Yoshimochi (d. 919), reads:

Blown by the early spring wind,
The plum tree secretly begins to bloom.
Its hundred flowers do not wait for mid-spring
Before emitting their fragrance.
As the season begins to change, its buds appear
And when spring has finally arrived,
Its flowers welcome the blessed rain and dew.

View info on museum database (enabled through support by the Robert F. Lange Foundation)