The detailed, realistic representation of the flora and fauna that we see in many bird and flower prints is due to the influence of Western styles of zoological drawing. Around Hokusai and Hiroshige's lifetime, printed zoological works from Western Europe had infiltrated Japanese society, and were being circulated, despite being banned by the Shogunate.

The exquisite printing, fine details and playful poetry (kyoka) that we often see with bird and flower prints, generally suggest they were produced for a wealthy, educated elite, in small numbers.

Such prints are also often filled with symbolism, with layers of meaning hidden behind the choice of animals and plants, and their arrangement.

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