The Courtesan Sonomume of Maruya

Artist: Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信 (1724-1770)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1725-1770
Ink and color on paper
H x W: 21.3 x 14.7 cm (8 3/8 x 5 13/16 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, mirror, ukiyo-e, woman
Provenance research underway.

The artist Harunobu flourished during the most important transition in the history of Japanese woodblock printing--the shift to full-color printing with multiple registered blocks. The illustrated book, Yoshiwara bijin awase (Comparison of beauties of the Yoshiwara), was published in 1770, five years after the color printing process was perfected. Attributed to Harunobu in its preface, the book portrays individual courtesans from the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter of Edo (modern Tokyo). This print of the courtesan Sonomume of Maruya is a detached page from the book; the signature of Harunobu has been added at a later date. The pose of the courtesan gives a full view of the nape of her neck, an erotic feature, while her face is reflected in her hand mirror.

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.