- Museum number
Colour woodblock print. Half-length portrait of Ohisa of Takashima teashop, holding fan. With poem. Nishiki-e on paper with mica background. Inscribed, sealed, marked and signed.
- Production date
- 1792-1793 (c.)
Height: 38.10 centimetres
Width: 24.90 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Ohisa was the daughter of Takashima Chobei, proprietor of a popular rice-cake shop. Together with Okita and Toyohina, she was one of three beauties depicted by Utamaro in a set of half-length portraits with crazy verse' (kyoka) inscriptions: Charms and tea are brimming over/And neither gets cold!/Let me not wake/From this lucky dream of the New Year/At Takashimaya'. (Label copy, TTC 2001)
The daughter of the tea-seller Takashimaya Chobei near the Ryogoku Bridge in Edo (Tokyo), Ohisa was the most celebrated beauty and hostess of the time. The poem on a representation of a decorated paper 'tanzaku' (poem-slip) refers to her floral crest. The print is signed 'The brush of Utamaro'.
Smith et al 1990
Ohisa was the beautiful daughter of the proprietor of a chain of cake shops and tea-houses, the Takashimaya. She acted as a draw-girl in the tea-houses, where she was discovered and taken up as the subject of colour prints by several Ukiyo-e artists during the 1790s.
In the early 1790s Utamaro and his publisher Tsutaya introduced the innovation of half-length portraits of beautiful women set against a background of silvery-white ground mica. Ohisa is shown in a turning pose, her fan held as if her intelligent gaze has just fixed on someone outside the picture. She wears a thin black gauze kimono decorated with yellow and white resist-dyed flashes, over a pink under-kimono, the collar pulled back to show off her neck. The first line of the comic poem by Karabana Tadaaya printed above may be translated: 'Though love and tea are overflowing, neither grows cold.'
Hillier, Jack, 1961. 'Utamaro', London, 1961, pl. IX.
Ueno Royal Museum (Ueno no Mori Bijutsukan), 'Daiei Hakubutsukan shozo ukiyo-e meisakuten', ed. Narazaki Muneshige, Tokyo, 1985, no. 89.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
2001, 30 Jan-8 Apr, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Arts of Japan: Recently repaired paintings, Ukiyo-e IV'
2006 Oct 13-2007 Feb 11, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
2010 22 Sep-14 Nov, Birmingham, Ikon Gallery, 'Kitagawa Utamaro'
2011 Feb 14- Jun 13, BM Japanese Galleries, 'Japan from prehistory to the present'
2018 Oct-2019 Apr, BM Mitsubishi Corporation Japanese Galleries
- Acquisition date
- Registration number