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Street scene in the pleasure quarter
奥村政信筆 遊里路上風景
Date: approx. 1705-1715
Object Name: Woodblock print (tan-e)
Materials: Ink on paper
Dimensions: H. 22 1/2 in x W. 12 1/4 in, H. 57.1 cm x W. 31.1 cm (ō-ōban)
Credit Line: Gift of the Grabhorn Ukiyo-e Collection
Department: Japanese Art
Collection: Prints And Drawings
Object Number: 2005.100.7
On Display: No

Description

Label: It is late afternoon on a street in the Yoshiwara, Edo’s licensed prostitution district. An old man leans on a cane as he listens to the sound of a shamisen, the stringed instrument played by one of two prostitutes seated in a latticed window display (harimise). Nearby, a notions vendor kneels beside a carrying case stacked with boxes, as a maid places her order near the brothel’s entrance. Out in the street, the procession of a sumptuously attired tayū (a high-ranking courtesan) and two kamuro halts for a moment before a potential customer, a disguised samurai, his features hidden by a deep straw hat. The attendant who follows keeps a close eye on the man bowing at his side, possibly a male entertainer (taiko) trying to solicit the samurai’s business. Completing this picture of commerce in the pleasure quarter is a second vendor, who lifts a fan-shaped object from the box held at his waist. A label on the box identifies his wares as goraigō: toys made from a bamboo tube with a small clay, paper, or wood Buddha inside. When the tube is lowered, a hidden Buddha pops up, surrounded by a folded paper mandorla. This charming toy equates the Yoshiwara’s myriad pleasures with the excitement of being welcomed to paradise (raigō) by the Buddha Amitabha.

More Information

Signature/Seal: Signature: 奥村政信圖 Okumura Masanobu zu

Artist’s seal: 政信 Masanobu

Marks: Publisher’s mark: 浅草 菊屋 駒形町 Asakusa Kikuya Komagata-chō
Exhibition History: “The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection”, Asian Art Museum, 2/20/15-5/10/15
Label: It is late afternoon on a street in the Yoshiwara, Edo’s licensed prostitution district. An old man leans on a cane as he listens to the sound of a shamisen, the stringed instrument played by one of two prostitutes seated in a latticed window display (harimise). Nearby, a notions vendor kneels beside a carrying case stacked with boxes, as a maid places her order near the brothel’s entrance. Out in the street, the procession of a sumptuously attired tayū (a high-ranking courtesan) and two kamuro halts for a moment before a potential customer, a disguised samurai, his features hidden by a deep straw hat. The attendant who follows keeps a close eye on the man bowing at his side, possibly a male entertainer (taiko) trying to solicit the samurai’s business. Completing this picture of commerce in the pleasure quarter is a second vendor, who lifts a fan-shaped object from the box held at his waist. A label on the box identifies his wares as goraigō: toys made from a bamboo tube with a small clay, paper, or wood Buddha inside. When the tube is lowered, a hidden Buddha pops up, surrounded by a folded paper mandorla. This charming toy equates the Yoshiwara’s myriad pleasures with the excitement of being welcomed to paradise (raigō) by the Buddha Amitabha.
Signature/Seal: Signature: 奥村政信圖 Okumura Masanobu zu

Artist’s seal: 政信 Masanobu

Marks: Publisher’s mark: 浅草 菊屋 駒形町 Asakusa Kikuya Komagata-chō
Exhibition History: “The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection”, Asian Art Museum, 2/20/15-5/10/15