- Museum number
Woodblock print. Courtesan of Edo, in outer garment decorated with ivy leaves, cherry blossom, fans and tasselled braids. Signed, sealed, marked and inscribed.
- Production date
- 1711-1714 (c.)
Height: 91.50 centimetres (external mount)
Height: 59.70 centimetres
Width: 56 centimetres (external mount)
Width: 32.40 centimetres
- Curator's comments
This is the classic pose for pictures of beautiful women created by the artists of the Kaigetsudo- studio – the courtesan stands at a slight diagonal, facing out, and slightly lifts the skirts of her surcoat. The surcoat has a design of ivy leaves and cherry blossoms against large court fans, and there are decorative combs in her looped ‘Katsuyama’ hairstyle; all suggesting, as with other Kaigetsudo- beauties, that this is a courtesan of the highest tayu - or ko-shi ranking in Yoshiwara pleasure quarter in Edo. Her pose, holding her left hanging sleeve out in display, is classic, too, for the Kaigetsudo- school. Cho-yo-do- Anchi was particularly talented among the pupils of Kaigetsudo- Ando, and it is thought that he succeeded Ando as head of the studio. Anchi completed many hangingscroll paintings of beauties in the style of his teacher and eight grand monochrome prints by him such as this one are known in the large vertical (o - o - ban) format. He also designed more than ten illustrated haiku anthologies and is known to have been active as a poet. No other record survives of his biography, however. Of his eight prints, six (including this one) were issued by the publisher Maruya of Higashi-yokocho-, Odenma 2-cho-me, and it is clear that artist and publisher enjoyed a special relationship. The Maruya publishing mark has not been found on any works other than these prints by Anchi. [AS]
One of the highest-grade Edo courtesans is shown in a typically bold costume of the period, the outer garment decorated with ivy leaves, cherry blossom, fans and tasselled braids. The very large prints of the studio founded by Kaigetsudo Ando in the early years of the eighteenth century are in fact rarer than the paintings on which the prints were based. The signature reads 'picture for amusement by the Japanese artist, Anchi, last descendant of Kaigetsu'. Both Choyodo and Kaigetsudo are studio names rather than family names. The seal reads Anchi, and the publisher's mark is in the shape of an egg-plant.
Smith et al 1990
The Kaigetsudo group of artists, specialising in paintings and large-format prints of single standing figures of high-ranking Edo courtesans, formed a close-knit atelier under the painter Kaigetsudo Ando. Nothing is known of their biographies, except that Ando was banished to islands off the Izu peninsula as a result of the famous scandal involving Lady Ejima in 1714. Anchi was perhaps the principal student of Ando, since he is the only one of the group to share the 'An' character of his teacher's name. He seems to have had a special relationship with the publisher Maruya, who issued six of Anchi's eight known designs (and nothing else). As is the case with other Kaigetsudo pupils, many more paintings have survived by Anchi than the small number of prints. This may be due to the high attrition rate of early prints in general, or else suggests that printmaking was a minor sideline. In any event, Kaigetsudo prints and paintings are always in a very similar style: broad, calligraphic outlines to describe the robes contrasted with small, delicate facial features. No other impression of the print is known.
Lane, Richard, 'Kaigetsudo', Kodansha Library of Japanese Art, vol. 13, Tokyo, 1959.
Ueno Royal Museum (Ueno no Mori Bijutsukan), 'Daiei Hakubutsukan shozo ukiyo-e meisakuten', ed. Narazaki Muneshige, Tokyo, 1985, no. 6.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
1998 9 Feb-3 May, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
2010 19 Oct- 2011 14 Feb, London, BM, Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from Prehistory to the Present'
2013 3 Oct - 2014 5 Jan, London, BM, Shunga: Sex and pleasure in Japanese art, 1600-1900
2016 Jan- Feb, Chiba City Museum, 'Ukiyo-e'
- Acquisition date
- Registration number