Online Collection

Collections



Asian Art Museum Logo
Courtesan in a robe decorated with calligraphy
Date: approx. 1704-1716
Object Name: Hanging scroll
Materials: Ink and colors on paper
Dimensions: H. 34 7/8 in x W. 16 1/2 in, H. 88.6 cm x W. 41.9 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: Japanese Art
Collection: Painting
Object Number: B60D119
On Display: No

Description

Label: Dressed in a kimono decorated with a calligraphy pattern, this voluptuous courtesan lifts the front of her robe and lightly touches her neck as she looks back over one shoulder. Her posture creates an S curve, which was considered feminine and is commonly seen in paintings of beautiful women. Loosely tied at the front, her light brown sash (obi) trails behind, suggesting the stately forward movement of a courtesan on parade.

The artist, Baiyuken Katsunobu, frequently used flowing Chinese characters to decorate the garments of his figures. Here they appear in white against a background of various shades of blue. Bold Chinese characters reading "love" and "listen" are superimposed over smaller Japanese characters. Like many courtesan paintings of the time, this one shows its subject against a blank background with no indication of place, occasion, or season.

More Information

Exhibition History: "Japanese Paintings from the Collection of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco", organized by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. (Nikkei), Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya (3/2/1995-4/9/1995), Takashimaya Art Gallery, Tokyo (4/20/1995-5/9/1995), Takashimaya Grand Hall, Kyoto (6/30/1995-7/11/1995), Sogo Museum of Art, Yokohama (8/2/1995-9/17/1995)

"Geisha: Beyond the Painted Smile", Peabody Essex Museum (6/25/2004 - 9/26/2004)
Label: Dressed in a kimono decorated with a calligraphy pattern, this voluptuous courtesan lifts the front of her robe and lightly touches her neck as she looks back over one shoulder. Her posture creates an S curve, which was considered feminine and is commonly seen in paintings of beautiful women. Loosely tied at the front, her light brown sash (obi) trails behind, suggesting the stately forward movement of a courtesan on parade.

The artist, Baiyuken Katsunobu, frequently used flowing Chinese characters to decorate the garments of his figures. Here they appear in white against a background of various shades of blue. Bold Chinese characters reading "love" and "listen" are superimposed over smaller Japanese characters. Like many courtesan paintings of the time, this one shows its subject against a blank background with no indication of place, occasion, or season.

Exhibition History: "Japanese Paintings from the Collection of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco", organized by Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc. (Nikkei), Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya (3/2/1995-4/9/1995), Takashimaya Art Gallery, Tokyo (4/20/1995-5/9/1995), Takashimaya Grand Hall, Kyoto (6/30/1995-7/11/1995), Sogo Museum of Art, Yokohama (8/2/1995-9/17/1995)

"Geisha: Beyond the Painted Smile", Peabody Essex Museum (6/25/2004 - 9/26/2004)