- Museum number
Painting, hanging scroll. Beauty reclining and fondling pet cat in open neck of kimono at her breast; wearing scarlet kimono decorated with bold patterns in blue, green and gold, tied with blue belt with design of curling plant fronds in gold. Ink, colour and gold on silk. Signed, sealed and inscribed.
- Production date
Height: 45.70 centimetres
Width: 62.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
A beauty wearing her hair in the 'Shimada' style of the bygone Genroku era (1688-1704) reclines fondling a pet cat that nestles in the open neck of her kimono at her breast. Outlined with luxuriant black brushstrokes that taper and swell around the contours of her body, the brilliant scarlet kimono is decorated with bold patterns in blue, green and gold, tied with a blue 'obi' with a design of curling plant fronds in gold. A 'waka' poem suggesting her thoughts is inscribed above by the noted poet, calligrapher and scholar Kato Chikage (1735-1808):
Why do I hear
The kitten mewing for its mate
At dead of night?
Is it because he matches
My own darkening thoughts?
The woman's cheerful expression, however, hardly indicates that she is sleeplessly waiting for a lover who does not come.
Nothing is recorded of the artist Joran, though the high level of technical accomplishment suggests he must have been a professional painter. The style is so close to the archaising works of Masayoshi's later career (compare, for instance, Introduction, fig. 22) that it is tempting to suggest that Joran must be an alternative name used by him; though this hypothesis must, of course, await confirmation from some other source.
Anderson, William, 'Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of Japanese and Chinese Paintings in the British Museum'. London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1886, no. 1705.
'(Hizo) Ukiyo-e taikan' ('Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections'), ed. Narazaki Muneshige. Vol. 1, Tokyo, Kodansha, 1987, BW no. 10.
Suzuki Jun, Tachibana Chikage no kenkyu (Perikansha, 2006), pp. 372-4
'1705. ? Sakamoto Joran c.1830'
'Inscription by Tachibana no Chikage d.1808.' '19th cent.' (unattributed annotations in the specially interleaved Japanese Study Room copy of Anderson 1886)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015 April-October, London, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The collection of over 2,000 Japanese and Chinese paintings assembled by Prof. William Anderson during his residency in Japan, 1873-1880, was acquired by the Museum in 1881. The items were not listed in the register, but rather were published separately as the 'Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of a Collection of Japanese and Chinese Paintings in the British Museum' (Longmans & Co, 1886).
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.1597 (Japanese Painting Number)