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Blossoms and Birds in Snow
Seasonal Images from Japan

14.12.2022 to 13.03.2023
Humboldt Forum

The temporary presentation of works from the Museum für Asiatische Kunst (Asian Art Museum) collection combines seasonal images of blossoms and plants with depictions of New Year’s customs and snowy landscapes in woodcuts by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) and Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806).

Plants and birds are often associated with particular seasons in East Asian poetry and visual culture. For example, the blossoms of plum and apricot trees (Prunus mume), which not infrequently bloom while covered with snow, signal the end of winter and coming of spring. Especially in the combination known as the “Three Friends of the Cold Seasons”, with the evergreen plants bamboo and plum, the blossoms also stand for perseverance and determination under adverse circumstances. In Japan cranes are considered symbols of long life and good luck in general. Images combining the three plants and cranes are thus often displayed at the turn of the year. The shrub known as heavenly bamboo or nandina (Nandina domestica) in Europe and called nanten in Japan is also associated with positive qualities because it bears fruit in winter, even in snowy conditions.

A temporary exhibition by the Museum für Asiatische Kunst – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin as part of the permanent exhibition Ethnological Collections and Asian Art in the Humboldt Forum, room 318, Art from Japan

Buddha (Pakistan, 2--3. century) in the module "Buddhist Art in South Asia. Stupas, Buddhas,
Bodhisattvas" of the Museum für Asiatische Kunst in the Humboldt Forum
© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum für Asiatische Kunst / Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss / Alexander Schippel

Permanent exhibition

10178 Berlin

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Sun 10:30 - 18:30
Mon 10:00 - 18:30
Tue closed
Wed 10:30 - 18:30
Thu 10:30 - 18:30
Fri 10:30 - 18:30
Sat 10:30 - 18:30

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