Height: 275.000 mm
Width: 190.000 mm
Asia JA 1915.8-23.012 (JIB 44)
Okumura Masanobu, Courtesans as Three Sake Drinkers, a woodblock print
Published in Japan
Edo period, around AD 1710
From the album Yūkun sennin ('Courtesans - Immortals')
This illustration is a parody of a well-known
classical painting subject that showed the founders of the three
great creeds of Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism. They are all
drinking vinegar, and are forced into the uncharacteristic
agreement that it tastes awful. Here the sages are represented by
three types of prostitute: a
The album Yūkun sennin ('Courtesans - Immortals') contains eleven black and white prints from what was probably a set of twelve. Each illustration humorously gives the three, usually female, figures the attributes of Chinese hermits and holy men in appropriate settings. Another page shows a coutesan conversing with the Immortal Gama, whose attribute is a toad.
The British Museum also has the wooden block used to print two of the illustrations, carved back-to-back on a single piece of cherry wood.
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)