Nishiyama Kan'ei, Scenes of Daily Life in Osaka, a handscroll painting

Late Edo period, 19th century AD

These scenes are taken from a handscroll illustrating the activities of inhabitants of Osaka in the late Edo period (1600-1868). The first scene shows the procession of a high-ranked courtesan and her attendants through the Shimmachi pleasure quarters. The padded skirts of her kimono are relatively thin, as found in the Kyoto-Osaka region; in Edo they were much thicker. Her obi (sash) is tied horizontally and stiffened with card - a style found only in Shimmachi. The crest of a tsuchi (mallet) on her umbrella tells us she belongs to the 'Tsuchiya' house.

The second scene shows three customers of a tea-house dancing drunkenly on the banks of the River Aji. There were many tea-shops at the mouth of this river, where those on boating trips could break their journey for refreshment. In the distance can be seen the artificial island-park called Mt. Tempō with its lighthouse, built in 1837.

Kan'ei (1833-97) was the son and pupil of Nishiyama Hōen (1804-67), a distinguished painter of the Shijō school working in Osaka. Kan'ei also lived and worked in Osaka, and served as a Confucian scholar to the Lord of the Akashi fief in Hyōgo. The signature reads 'Kan'ei ustusu' ('Painted by Kan'ei'), and the seals read ‘Kan'ei' and ‘Shiju'.

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More information


I. Hirayama and T. Kobayashi (eds.), Hizō Nihon bijutsu taikan-1, vol. 2 (Tokyo, Kodansha, 1992)


Height: 315.000 mm
Length: 4274.000 mm

Museum number

Asia JA JP 2644 (1902.6-6.028)


Gift of Sir A.W. Franks


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