- Museum number
Painting, hanging scroll. Two attendants of a Yoshiwara courtesan in a cloud emanating from a parcel of clams, a New Year's gift attached to a branch of flowering white plum. Ink and colour on silk. Signed and sealed.
- Production date
Height: 81 centimetres
Width: 31.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Clark 1992
Two 'kamuro' attendants of a Yoshiwara courtesan are shown in a cloud emanating from a parcel of clams, a New Year gift attached to a branch of flowering white plum. This curious subject must derive from a pun on a phrase in the ancient Chinese Han dynasty chronicles, the 'Shi ji' (Japanese: 'Shiki'), in which occurs the assertion that palaces can be created from the air (or 'breath') which emanates from clams. In Edo-period Japan 'ro' (palace) had the specific secondary meaning of one of the grand licensed brothels of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter. Probably through some 'kyoka' poet's witty word-play this gave rise to a series of images by Eishi in which a courtesan or her attendants (or both) are shown in clouds coming out of clams. Big clams send out courtesans, while little ones (as here) produce only child attendants. The title given this subject in Japanese, paraphrasing the original Chinese, is 'Shinkiro' ('Palace Emanating from the Clam'). Perhaps the recipient of a present of clams also hoped to get a courtesan.
As with the painting 'Kamuro Shaving the Pate of Fukurokuju' (no. 76), the figures are in Ukiyo-e polychrome, while the clams and plum branch are very much in Kano ink-wash style.
Brandt, Klaus J. 'Hosoda Eishi 1756-1829'. Stuttgart, K. J. Brandt, 1977, painting no. 443.
'(Hizo) Ukiyo-e taikan' ('Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections'), ed. Narazaki Muneshige. Vol. 1, Tokyo, Kodansha, 1987, BW no. 19.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Associated Event: New Year
- Associated titles
Associated Title: Shi ji (ancient Chinese Han dynasty chronicles)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The collection of Japanese and Chinese paintings belonging to Arthur Morrison was purchased by Sir William Gwynne-Evans, who presented it to the British Museum in 1913.
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Asia painting number: Jap.Ptg.1423 (Japanese Painting Number)