Photo © Photography: John Tsantes and Neil Greentree © Robert Feinberg
Gallery Text

Painters of the Kaigetsudō studio, situated close to the entrance of Edo’s Yoshiwara pleasure quarter, wrapped their statuesque courtesans in luxurious robes enlivened with undulating calligraphic lines to create souvenirs for Yoshiwara aficionados. Here, Doshin skillfully twists the courtesan’s posture to generate a sense of movement and intrigue: she turns her head to look back over her shoulder, but at what, or whom? A petite hand holds up the skirts of her layered robes, revealing an equally delicate foot. This pose, intended to enhance the figure’s sensual appeal, was widely adopted by early painters of Yoshiwara beauties. In some of these works, a famous courtesan can be identified; in others, the generic treatment of a woman’s appearance serves as a conduit for imaginative appreciation.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
TL42147.9
People
Kaigetsudō Doshin, Japanese (active c. 1704–16)
Title
Standing Courtesan
Classification
Paintings
Work Type
painting, hanging scroll
Date
early 18th century
Places
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Period
Edo period, 1615-1868
Culture
Japanese
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/11254
Location
Level 3, Room 3500, Special Exhibitions Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper
Dimensions
image only: 111.7 x 49.1 cm (44 x 19 5/16 in.)
with mount: 204.5 x 62.6 cm (80 1/2 x 24 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: Yamato giga Kaigetsu matsuyo doshin ga kore
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
TL42147.9
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Commentary
A single courtesan stands facing right, with head turned to look over the white sleeve of her inner kimono which she holds up with withdrawn hand as if to hide her lower face.
Publication History

Yamane Yūzō, ed., Manno korekushon senshu = Selected masterpieces of the Manno collection (Osaka, Japan, 1988), illus. #38

Kobayashi Tadashi, ed., Nikuhitsu ukiyoe taikan, vol. 7: Manno Bijutsukan, Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan, 1996), illus. #27

Sebastian Izzard LLC, Masterpieces of Ukiyo-e: Paintings from the Manno Art Museum (New York, NY, 2003), illus. #5, p. 28

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), p. 156, cat. 76

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 37, fig. 23

Exhibition History

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, Tokyo Metropolitan Edo-Tokyo Museum, 05/21/2013 - 07/15/2013; Miho Museum, 07/20/2013 - 08/18/2013; Tottori Prefectural Museum, 10/05/2013 - 11/10/2013

Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/14/2020 - 07/18/2021

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu