- Museum number
- Series: Hoshi no shimo tosei fuzoku 星の霜当世風俗 (Starfrost Contemporary Manners)
Colour woodblock print. Courtesan in long red silk under-kimono decorated with white tie-dyed starfish pattern beside standing lantern; shadow of her arm visible through paper shade; scattered hair ornaments and other personal accoutrements behind folding screen; her kimono and belt thrown over screen. Inscribed, sealed, signed and maked.
- Production date
Height: 38 centimetres
Width: 25.10 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Smith et al 1990
It is deep in the night and a courtesan in her long red silk under-kimono decorated with a white tie-dyed starfish pattern is shown beside a standing lantern. The shadow of her arm shows through the paper shade as she dresses the wick. The corner of the bedding, scattered hair ornaments and other personal accoutrements are just visible behind the edge of a folding screen, over which is thrown her kimono and 'obi', and the two cups on the black lacquer tray hint at the presence of the customer, discreetly hidden by the screen. The white satin collar of the woman's robe has been hand-painted with a design of a cuckoo, signed Gototei (one of Kunisada's art-names), so perhaps the artist intends us to think that it is he who enjoys her special favour.
The placing of the screen in the foreground so as to open up a sense of deeper space, as well as the use of complex effects of internal lighting, are relatively new departures for an Ukiyo-e artist. By retreating from the idealised poses and impossibly neat falls of drapery so common in late eighteenth-century figure prints, Kunisada is able to make startling gains in the immediacy and eroticism of the image.
Suzuki, Juzo, and Oka, Isaburo, 'The Decadents', Tokyo, 1969.
Binyon, Laurence, and Sexton, J. J. O'Brien, 'Japanese Colour Prints', London, , no. 43.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012 Feb – Jun, BM Japanese Galleries, ‘Japan, from Prehistory to the Present’
- Acquisition date
- Registration number