ōban tate-e; nishiki-e; bijinga
In this print, the beauty’s robes are opened enticingly, just enough to offer the viewer a glimpse of bare skin. Cats, thought by the Japanese to have an ability to tempt and enthrall those who pass by them, are common tropes in bijinga, and are often shown pulling at the sashes of courtesans, causing them to expose themselves. At upper left are threads of the auspicious five colors—black, white, yellow, red, and blue—each with a symbolic meaning and association based on ancient ideas of how the universe is structured. In Japanese tradition, together the colors signal divinity or imperial rule. Here, in addition to revealing aspects of each courtesan, Toyokuni uses the five colors as a creative and inventive means of enticing potential buyers to purchase the entire series of five prints.
- BB, ed., 2015
women; cats; standing; figures; kimonos; headdresses
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