The story of Umewaka at the Sumida River

According to legend 12-year-old Umewaka was separated from his family during the civil wars of medieval Japan.

The boy wandered to the Sumida River and died after composing a poem addressed to the seagulls. He was buried by the river and a temple sprang from his tomb.

In this version Umewaka, a brilliant student ran away after failing in competition with another youth. On the shores of Lake Biwa, he was seized by a slave trader, who led him to the Sumida River where the boy died.

The white petals of cherry blossoms, which last for only a short time and symbolise the brevity of life, are falling in a stream on Umewaka, who is dressed in the clothes of a temple page.

The story of Umewaka at the Sumida River Tsukioka YOSHITOSHI
Japanese 1839-92
The story of Umewaka at the Sumida river
from the Famous places in Edo series
1883 Tokyo, Japan

colour woodblock (triptych)
35.7 x 73.0 cm (image) (overall)
Purchased, 1993 (AS3.a-c-1993)

The story of Umewaka at the Sumida River

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