Hiroshige’s Flowers Coloring Book
Hiroshige II, who lived from 1826 to 1869, was a student of the top designer of Japanese landscape prints, Hiroshige I. After his teacher died in 1858, he inherited the famous name and carried on the artistic tradition.
The twenty-two pictures in this coloring book are from his print series Thirty-six Selected Flowers, designed in 1866. In this series, Hiroshige II cleverly combines two different subjects in each print. First, he shows a close-up view of beautiful flowers. Then, in the distance behind the flowers, he shows a landscape scene of the place where the flowers grow, somewhere in his home city of Tokyo. However, the name “Tokyo” did not become official until two years later, in 1868. In the titles of the prints, the artist sometimes calls his city by the new name Tokyo and sometimes by an old name that means “Eastern Capital.”
Today some of the gardens shown in the prints have been replaced by tall buildings. But since many people in Japan love flowers, some of the old gardens in Tokyo are still there, and there are new parks and gardens too. Japanese gardeners developed many different varieties of flowers. When you color the pictures, you can follow the colors used in the prints or invent some new varieties of your own. The last page of the book is blank, for you to draw your own favorite flower and show where it grows. A garden? A park? A pot inside a house? Or maybe it is a wildflower that grows in the woods or mountains.