Collections: American Art: Yuki-Anna, The Frost Fairy

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    63.108.1_PS1.jpg CUR.63.108.1.jpg

    Yuki-Anna, The Frost Fairy

    Bertha Lum often found subject matter in the highly popular stories of Lafcadio Hearn (1850–1904), an American writer living in Japan who adapted local legends and fairy tales for Western audiences. This woodcut illustrates the tragic story of Yuki-Anna, a wintry spirit who takes on human form in order to marry a young man she loves. When he betrays her secret identity, she transforms into snow and melts away forever.

    • Artist: Bertha Lum, American, 1879-1954
    • Medium: Color woodcut on cream, thin, laid Japan paper
    • Dates: 1916
    • Dimensions: Sheet: 17 5/8 x 10 1/2 in. (44.8 x 26.7 cm) Image: 17 1/8 x 10 1/8 in. (43.5 x 25.7 cm)  (show scale)
    • Markings: From Catalog Sheet: Signed, "Copyright 1916 by" in margin, "Bertha Lum" in lower center of composition, "No / 21"
    • Signature: Signed in graphite, bottom edge of sheet, inside of plate "[illegible] lit 1916 by Bertha Lum"
    • Inscriptions: Inscribed in graphite, inside of plate, lower right of sheet "no/21."
    • Collections:American Art
    • Museum Location: This item is not on view
    • Accession Number: 63.108.1
    • Credit Line: Gift of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts
    • Rights Statement: © Estate of Bertha Lum
    • Caption: Bertha Lum (American, 1879-1954). Yuki-Anna, The Frost Fairy, 1916. Color woodcut on cream, thin, laid Japan paper, Sheet: 17 5/8 x 10 1/2 in. (44.8 x 26.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, 63.108.1. © Estate of Bertha Lum
    • Image: overall, 63.108.1_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Record Completeness: Best (85%)
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    Recent Comments
    09:10 04/19/2011
    she comes with cold breath
    and her touch is death
    comes resting a child on her left hip
    when you are looking for your lost child
    and she breathes you into a frozen statue
    when you reach out

    she comes with cold breath
    and her touch is death
    ah, you men filled with desire
    she floats naked on the snow
    and she is white as yuki
    and her lips as red as blood
    and you reach out to kiss her
    and you are stuck firm to the ground as ice

    yet voluptuous Yuki-onna
    she has love and desire:
    she fell for
    a young man
    and so spared him
    but he was never to speak of her
    but he did
    and she left him heart-broken
    made more cold and merciless
    since the coldness and betrayal of a man

    she comes with cold breath
    and her touch is death
    O Yuki-onna
    do not come before me in the snow;
    it is not your hovering body
    white as snow that I wish to see
    but pure snow itself
    though cold and merciless it may be

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