A peek into our collections, one object at a time

Cherry blossoms

March 21, 2017

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tinted portrait of Japanese women in kimonos among cherry blossoms
Henry and Nancy Rosin Collection of Early Photography of Japan. Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Partial purchase and gift of Henry and Nancy Rosin, 1999–2001.

A Walk Among the Cherry Blossoms

More than a century ago, cherry trees made beautiful backdrops for photos—just as they do today. Pictured here are three young women dressed in kimonos posing with parasols under a blooming cherry blossom tree, circa 1860–1900.

This photo is from the collection of the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. It was included in an album produced by the studio of Tamamura Kozaburo (1880s–1900s)—a successful commercial photography studio in Japan.

This photo is not currently on display, but the galleries offer more Japanese artworks, such as those in the upcoming “Inventing Utamaro: A Japanese Masterpiece Rediscovered,” opening April 8. The exhibition reunites for the first time in nearly 140 years three works by the legendary Japanese ukiyo-e (“pictures of the floating world”) master, Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806). The exhibition will be open through July 9, 2017.

Learn more about the Freer and Sackler galleries.