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Maker(s):Keisai Eisen; Moritaya Hanzō, publisher
Culture:Japanese (1790–1848); Japanese (active ca. 1825–1835)
Title:The Syllable 'Ro': The Courtesan Suganoske of The Okamotoya as Nihonbashi ('Ro okamotoyanai suganosuke nihonbashi'), from the series "The Wandering Beauties of Edo" ('Keisei edo hōkaku')
Date Made:Early 1830s
Materials:polychrome woodblock print
Place Made:Edo
Measurements:Sheet/Image: 15 5/16 in x 10 1/4 in; 38.9 cm x 26 cm
Accession Number:  AC 1994.96
Credit Line:Gift of William Green
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

ōban tate-e nishiki-e bijinga mitate-e

Label Text:
The front-tied obi, decorated with the back of a cat watching a butterfly, indicates that this beauty is a yūjō, an officially licensed courtesan of the Yoshiwara. Along with her sumptuous attire, her numerous hairpins signify success and popularity—and thus the high prices she commands. The text identifies Suganosuke by her received name—like actors and artists, courtesans were given names symbolic of their professional lineage—as well as her place of employment, an ageya, or pleasure house, called the Okamotoya. The Nihonbashi, a landmark bridge near the pleasure district, is visible at the upper left. Courtesans were not free to roam outside the Yoshiwara except for one day each year. Perhaps somewhat ironically, despite her confined status and her work as a courtesan, both the butterflies and dragonflies that decorate her clothes are traditionally auspicious symbols of joy.
- BB, ed., 2015

figures; women; female; standing; pose; kimonos; headdresses; landscapes; flowers

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