In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Japanese still used a traditional lunar calendar in which the new year began in early February. The first three months of that calendar were designated as spring, thus the season depicted in the prints in this exhibition falls somewaht earlier than spring in the United States. In Japan, the flowers most closely identified with this season are the plum (ume), certain varieties of the camellia (tsubaki), the peach (momo), and most of all, the cherry (sakura). The poetry on the prints makes associations typical for these blossoms, drawing upon a rich tradition of allusion that derives from both the Chinese and Japanese poetic traditions. In composition too, these images evolve from classical Chinese painted subjects to become uniquely Japanese renditions of the theme of "birds and flowers" (kacho-e).