The Third Princess with her Cat
(Nyosan no miya, Neko)
signed Kitao Masayoshi ga, with Koshikawa collector's seal on verso, ca. 1780s
hosoban 12 5/8 by 5 5/8 in., 32 by 14.4 cm
The subject is a parody of the Third Princess (Nyosan no miya) from a scene in The Tale of Genji in which Genji catches a glimpse of the princess when her playful cat scampers out onto a verandah thereby pushing the privacy bamboo blinds open to briefly reveal the young beauty.
Kitao Masayoshi was a student of Kitao Shigemasa and later of Kano Yosen'in Korenobu. He worked as an ukiyo-e artist primarily producing book illustrations under the name of Kitao Masayoshi until 1794 when he became the official painter for the daimyo of Tsuyama. After obtaining the daimyo's patronage he changed his name to Kuwagata Keisai and focused on painting in the style of the Kano School. He also published several instructional books on how to paint in the 'abbreviated style' of ryakuga-shiki. Single sheet works by Masayoshi are comparatively rare.
The British Museum (artist's biography)
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