right scroll Photo © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg
Gallery Text

The thematic grouping of snow, moon, and flowers (setsugekka) derives from a line composed by Chinese poet Bai Juyi (772–846) about an absent friend who was constantly on his mind: during winter snows, at the rising of the autumn moon, and in spring when flowers blossom. In Edo Japan, the trio was used as an elegant means of numbering things that come in threes. In this triptych, a moon rising above the water is flanked by luxuriant cherry blossoms at right and a snow-covered cypress at left. The arrangement of the trees so that only portions of their trunks are visible generates a sense of proximity, in contrast with the moon, which appears distant, as though viewed through the branches of both trees simultaneously.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Suzuki Kiitsu, Japanese (Omi Province 1796 - 1858)
Snow, Moon, and Flowers
Work Type
hanging scroll, painting
c. 1843–58
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3500, Special Exhibitions Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Set of three hanging scrolls; ink and color on silk
each, painting proper: H. 99 × W. 29.7 cm (39 × 11 11/16 in.)
each, overall mounting, including roller ends and cord: H. 189.3 × W. 46.8 cm (74 1/2 × 18 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: paintings "Snow" and "Flowers": Seisei Kiitsu
  • seal: painting "Snow", square, relief: Shukurin
  • seal: painting "Moon", oval, relief: Shukurinsai
  • inscription: painting "Moon": Seisei Gyo Kiitsu
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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a. Snow-laden hinoki tree
b. Full moon over river
c. Blossoming cherry tree
Publication History

Matthew McKelway, Kobayashi Tadashi, and Yasumura Toshinobu, Silver Wind: The Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), exh. cat., Japan Society (New York, 2012), pp. 36-37, fig. 2

Exhibition History

Silver Wind: the Arts of Sakai Hōitsu (1761-1828), Japan Society, New York, 09/29/2012 - 01/06/2013

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/14/2020 - 07/18/2021

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu