Art/ Collection/ Art Object

南国美人合
Courtesan Holding a Fan

Artist:
Kitagawa Utamaro (Japanese, ca. 1754–1806)
Period:
Edo period (1615–1868)
Date:
ca. 1793
Culture:
Japan
Medium:
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper 02_18_60---(Mica ground)
Dimensions:
14 1/2 x 9 5/16 in. (36.8 x 23.7 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1922
Accession Number:
JP1367
Not on view
This beauty, a high-ranking courtesan must have been the dream ideal worshipped by many a romantic young man. The most splendid costumes were created during the late 18th century for these arbiters of fashion and style. Robes of silk crepe, velvet or satin were worn with broad sashes (obi) of gold and silk brocades. Her pyramidal coiffure, piled high on her head and embellished with elaborate hairpins is a dramatic change from the more casual styles of the early 18th century and required the care of a professional hairdresser.

Tokyo Bay in summer is pictured on her fan, with a poem by Magao, a contemporary writer. It was translated by Louis Ledoux as follows:

Even as guests do,
So do the summer breezes
Ever returning,
Come to Sodegaura,
Place of heavenly coolness.
Signature: Utamaro hitsu

Inscription: Poem by Magao, a contemporary writer, on fan:

Even as guests do,
So do the summer breezes
Ever returning,
Come to Sodegaura,
Place of heavenly coolness.

[translated by Louis Ledoux]

Marking: Seal: Tsutaya Jūsaburō
Frank Lloyd Wright American, Richland Center, WI and Phoenix, AZ (before 1922; sold to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Frank Lloyd Wright at the Metropolitan Museum of Art," December 3, 1982–February 27, 1983.

London. British Museum. "The Works of Kitagawa Utamero, 1754–1806," August 31, 1995–October 22, 1995.

Chiba City Museum of Art. "The Works of Kitagawa Utamero, 1754–1806," November 3, 1995–December 10, 1995.

New York. Japan Society Gallery. "The Architect's Other Passion: Frank Lloyd Wright and Japan," March 28, 2001–July 15, 2001.

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