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Cherry Blossoms Available in Print and Online

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Every year Washingtonians are treated to a feast for the eyes as ornamental cherry trees bloom across the city, most prominently by the Tidal Basin. As cherry blossom season approaches, we would like to share information about two related resources that we hope will offer some inspiration for those near and far: a selected set of free-to-use cherry blossom images that are accessible from anywhere in the world and a beautifully-illustrated book written by Prints & Photographs Division curators.

<em>In cherry blossom time - Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.</em> Photo by Keystone View Company, 1926.
In cherry blossom time – Washington Monument, Washington, D.C. Photo by Keystone View Company, 1926.

Cherry Blossoms: Sakura Collections from the Library of Congress is a new print publication featuring a rich mix of images from the Prints & Photographs Division’s collections. The authors, Mari Nakahara and Katherine Blood — both curators in the Prints & Photographs Division — include selections of photographs, Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and Cherry Blossom Festival brochures, among others. Their introduction provides context for how cherry blossom viewing has long been a practice in Japan, how cherry blossoms became a symbol of friendship between Japan and the United States, and for how the plants have inspired artists for centuries.

The Library’s new Free to Use and Reuse: Cherry Blossoms set includes a number of images that are included in the book, including the two seen below. Mari, Curator of Architecture, Design & Engineering, explained why she finds the following image particularly meaningful: “Not only are Tsunoi’s eleven watercolor drawings of cherry blossoms exquisite, but my falling in love with them provided the spark that led to our 2012 exhibition, new book, and ongoing acquisitions.”

Kwan-san. Watercolor by Kokichi Tsunoi, 1921.
Kwan-san. Watercolor by Kokichi Tsunoi, 1921.

Katherine, Curator of Fine Prints, stated, “I love this vibrant aerial view by Hiroshige II with its clouds and cloud-like blossoms—reminding me of a recent family trip to Japan and of Washington’s Tidal Basin cherry trees in full bloom.”

Yamato hasedera. Woodcut by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1859.
Yamato hasedera. Woodcut by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1859.

Readers may be inspired to search the online catalogs for more cherry blossom-related images, and will not be disappointed to see many other options available for viewing and downloading from off site. Check out the information in the Learn More section below for helpful links.

Learn More:

Comments (2)

  1. Such an exquisite collection! Thanks.

  2. Thank you, Melissa!

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