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Courtesan parading with two child attendants
鳥居清倍筆 太夫と二人の禿
Date: approx. 1715
Object Name: Woodblock print (tan-e)
Materials: Ink on paper
Dimensions: H. 24 in x W. 12 in, H. 61 cm x W. 30.5 cm (ō-ōban)
Credit Line: Gift of the Grabhorn Ukiyo-e Collection
Department: Japanese Art
Collection: Prints And Drawings
Object Number: 2005.100.4
On Display: No

Description

Label: A beauty glances down at a black and white cat, perched on the shoulder of one of her two kamuro, or child attendants. The beauty’s robe is worn off one shoulder with one hand pulled inside the right sleeve of her underrobe, and it is secured with a fronttied obi, in a style familiar from other pictures of high-ranking courtesans on parade (see no. 6). A pattern of four balance toys (yajirobee) on her underrobe sleeve might suggest something about her character—is she a fickle lover?—or it might refer to the instability of romantic life in the floating world. Scattered writing (chirashigaki) decorates her robe with a mix of bold kanji characters and more delicate cursive kana scripts. Two phrases are legible: ukiyo banare (removed to the “floating world”), on her sleeve, suggests indifference to customary attitudes, while hana arashi (storm of flowers), describes the blossoms swept from trees by an early spring wind — a metaphor for impermanence, or the obstacles that arise in life. Together these sentiments remind viewers to seize the ephemeral pleasures of life.

More Information

Signature/Seal: Signature: 鳥居氏清倍圖 Torii-uji Kiyomasu zu

Seal: 清倍 Kiyomasu

Collector’s seal: 白爾叟 Hakujisō or Berusō? (verso)

Marks: Publisher’s mark: 元浜町 伊賀屋 板元 Motohama-chō Igaya hanmoto
Exhibition History: “The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection”, Asian Art Museum, 2/20/15-5/10/15
Label: A beauty glances down at a black and white cat, perched on the shoulder of one of her two kamuro, or child attendants. The beauty’s robe is worn off one shoulder with one hand pulled inside the right sleeve of her underrobe, and it is secured with a fronttied obi, in a style familiar from other pictures of high-ranking courtesans on parade (see no. 6). A pattern of four balance toys (yajirobee) on her underrobe sleeve might suggest something about her character—is she a fickle lover?—or it might refer to the instability of romantic life in the floating world. Scattered writing (chirashigaki) decorates her robe with a mix of bold kanji characters and more delicate cursive kana scripts. Two phrases are legible: ukiyo banare (removed to the “floating world”), on her sleeve, suggests indifference to customary attitudes, while hana arashi (storm of flowers), describes the blossoms swept from trees by an early spring wind — a metaphor for impermanence, or the obstacles that arise in life. Together these sentiments remind viewers to seize the ephemeral pleasures of life.
Signature/Seal: Signature: 鳥居氏清倍圖 Torii-uji Kiyomasu zu

Seal: 清倍 Kiyomasu

Collector’s seal: 白爾叟 Hakujisō or Berusō? (verso)

Marks: Publisher’s mark: 元浜町 伊賀屋 板元 Motohama-chō Igaya hanmoto
Exhibition History: “The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection”, Asian Art Museum, 2/20/15-5/10/15