Fragment of the Yujo monogatari (Tales of pleasure women)

Historical period(s)
Nanbokucho period, 14th century
Ink on paper
H x W (image): 16.4 x 42.7 cm (6 7/16 x 16 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

court, Japan, kakemono, Nanbokucho period (1333 - 1392), Tales of Pleasure Women
Provenance research underway.

This fragment is from a longer illustrated narrative scroll describing the customs of romance in Heian (794-1185) times. This illustration from Tales of pleasure women is rendered in the hakubyoga style. The tale may be based on Yujoki (Record of pleasure women), a series of observations on women of carnal commerce written by author and statesman Oe no Masafusa (1041-1111). In addition to the specialized use of ink monochrome, the artist used the visual convention of "blown roof" (fukinuki yatai), allowing the viewer to peer into action normally obscured by architecture, and suggesting the narrator's omniscient point of view.  Sequential numbering of text units alerts the viewer to the proper sequence for reading.

Published References
  • Narasaki Muneshige. Courtesan and Their Life. no. 821 Tokyo. .
  • Unknown title. no. 821 Tokyo, August 1960. pl. 2.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 107.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.