Matsukaze of Yamashiroya

Artist: Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信 (1724-1770)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1770
Ink and color on paper
H x W: 21.2 x 14.6 cm (8 3/8 x 5 3/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of the family of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

bijinga, courtesan, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, tea, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

Yoshiwara Bijin Awase (Competition of beauties of the Yoshiwara), published in 1770, was one of the first illustrated books to use the full-color printing process that had first appeared in 1765. Attributed to Harunobu on the basis of its preface, it is a masterpiece of color printing and an outstanding example of the artist's book illustrations. Each page portrays a famous courtesan of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter whose name and house name are inscribed above, followed by a brief poem. The portraits reflect the cultivation and artistic skills associated with the upper class of courtesans. Here Matsukaze (pine wind) waits as water boils in the iron kettle. Her bamboo dipper is poised over the ceramic tea bowl, and she has arranged her bamboo tea whisk, tea caddy, and scoop nearby. Even her kimono alludes to tea, with its pattern of tea-storage jars. The signature containing Harunobu's name was added to this page after it was removed from the book.

Published References
  • Beatrice Hohenegger. Liquid Jade: The Story of Tea from East to West., 1st ed. New York. p. 50.
  • Julia Murray. A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980. Exh. cat. Washington, 1979. cat. 61a, p. 80.
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.

Related Objects