Drowsy, the appearance of a harlot of the Meiji era

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, 1839-1892

Thirty-Two Aspects of Customs and Manners: Drowsy, the appearance of a harlot of the Meiji era
(Fuzoku sanjuniso: nemuso meiji nenkan shogi no fuzoku)

signed Yoshitoshi, with artist's seal Taiso, carver's seal Yamamoto to, and publisher's date and address seal Meiji nijuichinen, shigatsu, juka; Tokyo Nihonbashi Bakurocho Nichome 1[4]-banchi (Meiji 21 [1888], 4th month, 10th day) of Tsujiokaya Kamekichi of Kinkido

oban tate-e 14 3/4 by 10 1/8 in., 37.5 by 25.6 cm

A tipsy courtesan has abandoned all pretenses of formality as the night comes to a close. She lies on red futon mattress with her heavy head propped up on a padded lacquer pillow printed with burnishing. Her now-cumbersome hair is elaborately coiffed and highlighted with hundreds of evenly distributed slightly wavy lines, impressive work for designer and block cutter alike. Her shibori asanoha (hemp leaf geometric pattern) kimono is tie-dyed in the intense shades of red and purple which had become so fashionable (and obtainable) in the Meiji period with the introduction of aniline dyes. She smiles, but her half-closed eyes and a few wisps of hair that fall into her face indicate her fatigue. The folded onkotogami (lit. 'paper for the honorable act') suggest that she is prepared for her last encounter of the evening before the weary working girl can finally take her respite.

In the background a painted panel of a folding screen decorated with vines bears Yoshitoshi's signature and seal within the composition.

References:
Keyes 1983, p. 482, no. 503.18
Segi 1985, p. 93, no. 103.29
van den Ing & Schaap 1992, p. 140, no. 63.30
Stevenson 1995, no. 30
Ota Memorial Museum of Art 2009, p. 17, no. 1.30

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