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Nandina bush and flycatchers in the snow

Ohara Shōson (Koson)

Artwork Details

Nandina bush and flycatchers in the snow
Ohara Shōson (Koson)
color woodblock print on paper
14 3/8 in x 9 1/2 in (36.5 cm x 24.1 cm);22 1/16 in x 18 in (56 cm x 45.8 cm);15 7/16 in x 10 3/16 in (39.2 cm x 25.9 cm)
Museum Purchase

On Display

Not currently on display


The blue birds perched on snow-covered branches with red berries create a cheerful wintry scene. The bright pigments used by the artist on this print reflect Western influence.

Subject Matter:

Nandina berries have high levels of arsenic and are poisonous to many organisms. Birds, one of their main predators, only consume them when necessary due to their toxicity. That said, in Japanese culture, the Nandina plant is a symbol for sacred celebration and good fortune. The flycatcher is a famously beautiful bird of Japan and is a symbol of energy and nimbleness. Art with the bird and plant subjects is very common in Japanese art. 

Physical Description:

This colorful woodblock print depicts a Nandina bush with berries in the snow and two flycatchers. The berries are bright red with leaves of green and brown stems, partially obscured by the white snow. One bird is perched on a branch in the upper third of the piece while another bird is placed closer to the middle and appears to be attempting to eat a berry with its wings out. The birds are colored a deep blue with darker heads and wingtips. Their undersides are white. Snow falls on the light blue-gray background and there is a signature on the bottom left. The signature is followed by a red seal. 

Usage Rights:

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