Selections from the Brocade Quarter: Teahouse on Nakanocho in Yoshiwara
the sixth design from an album of twelve prints, a geisha with resplendent robes entwined with a customer; at upper right on a serving tray a fish presented on a porcelain dish, at left is a sake kettle and cup, the folded packet onkotogami (paper tissues) nearby suggests their encounter has just begun, with karazuri ('blind printing') on the black and white shibori lining her kosode, and metallic printing on the lacquer tray and her brocade obi, ca. 1815
oban yoko-e 10 by 14 3/8 in., 25.5 by 36.5 cm
The dialogue between the pair sets the scene in a ryori-chaya (teahouse restaurant) on the Nakanocho, the main street in the Yoshiwara. The geisha was supposed to only entertain the customer, and she worries about being caught while the customer enjoys his indulgences. He comments: "On such an interesting Nakanocho evening, with a sky so beautiful as to make the flowers sing its praises, soliciting a geisha in this place- I'm such a wastrel." She responds: "Stop saying such foolish things and let's quickly be done. It wouldn't be good if someone were to come by."
Highlights of Japanese Printmaking Part 4: Shunga, Scholten Japanese Art, 2014, cat. no. 41
Hayakawa Monta, Forbidden Images- Erotic Art from Japan's Edo Period, Helsinki City Art Museum, 2002 (website for dialogue translation)
Gian Carlo Calza, Poem of the Pillow and Other Stories by Utamaro, Hokusai, Kuniyoshi and Other Artists of the Floating World, 2010, p. 410
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site last updated
June 5, 2020
Scholten Japanese Art
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New York, New York 10019
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