Models for Fashion: New Designs as Fresh Young Leaves: The Courtesan Nanasato of the Yotsumeya with Her Attendants Nanaji and Satoji

Artist: Isoda Koryūsai 磯田湖竜斎 (1735-1790)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1778-80
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 38 x 25.7 cm (14 15/16 x 10 1/8 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

Anne van Biema collection, attendant, bijinga, courtesan, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, portrait, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

Beautiful women, especially the famous and fashionable courtesans of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter of Edo, were a popular subject of Japanese prints. These glamorous and alluring women were feminine counterparts to the kabuki actors who attracted admirers both on- and off stage. This print belongs to the longest series in ukiyo-e; some 150 designs under the same title were produced from 1776 to 1781 by two publishers, Nishimuraya Yohachi (Eijudo) and Tsutaya Jusaburo, with designs by two artists, the majority by Koryusai with eleven by Torii Kiyonaga (1752-1815).

The larger format known as oban of this series, which subsequently became the dominant choice for publishers and artists, was relatively novel at this time. Koryusai's designs presented high-ranking courtesans and their attendants displaying colorful and flamboyant garments as they would have done when parading through the Yoshiwara. Their names are given after that of the brothel where they were employed.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 112, pp. 278-279.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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