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Woodblock print - Winter Play

Winter Play

  • Object:

    Woodblock print

  • Place of origin:

    Japan (made)

  • Date:

    1765-1770 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Suzuki Harunobu (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour print on paper from wood blocks

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Suzuki Harunobu was a printmaker and painter of the Edo period (1615–1868) and a seminal figure in the history of Japanese art. His most accomplished prints date to the last five years of his life and utilise new developments in the production of polychrome prints from multiple woodblocks. By carving registration marks (kentô) on the block and using them to align the paper, artists were no longer limited in the number of blocks they could use to produce a single print. Such prints are called nishiki-e (‘brocade pictures’) after the magnificent brocades produced in the Nishijin district of Kyoto.

Despite the wealth of colour choices afforded him by developments in printing from woodblocks, Harunobu here chooses a muted palette. Within a frame in the shape of a Japanese fan, a Chinese child puts the final touches on a snow dog as his friend watches. The hairstyles and clothing of the children in this print identify them as karako, often translated as 'Chinese boys'. This motif originated in the Chinese theme of 'one hundred boys playing'. Although perhaps most often associated with pictures of willowy young beauties, Harunobu’s print output included many images of children.

Place of Origin

Japan (made)


1765-1770 (made)


Suzuki Harunobu (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Colour print on paper from wood blocks


Height: 13.7 cm, Width: 15.2 cm




East Asia Collection

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