One hundred years ago this month, the city of Tokyo, Japan, gave a gift of over 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington D.C. as a symbol of friendship between the countries. In a ceremony held on March 27, 1912, U.S. First Lady Helen Taft and the wife of the Japanese ambassador, Vicountess Chinda, planted the first two trees on the bank of the Tidal Basin. The commemoration of this ceremony grew into the National Cherry Blossom Festival, celebrated each spring when the trees come into full bloom and the city is transformed with clouds of pink and white blossoms.
There are over 3,700 cherry blossom trees in Washington thanks to an ongoing replanting program, since fewer than 200 of the original trees still survive. But the two trees planted by Mrs. Taft and Vicountess Chinda still stand.
Cherry blossoms are a popular decoration on pottery and porcelain. The 9 1/2-inch Weller vase pictured here is decorated with cherry blossoms in the chinoiserie style and crackle glaze. It’s part of Weller’s Hudson line, made from 1917 to 1934.
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