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

This intimate early floating-world painting offers the viewer a scripted opportunity to participate in an imaginary visit to a Yoshiwara teahouse, from arrival and greeting (at right) to a night spent with a courtesan (far left). Between these moments, teahouse workers bustle around the heart of the establishment preparing a meal. Although the figures are individualized by gestures and postures, their faces are relatively neutral, leaving space for projection. The blurred boundaries at the edges imbue the scene with a gentle, dreamlike quality.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Hishikawa Moronobu, Japanese (Hodamura, Awa Province d. 1694 Edo)
Early Evening at a Yoshiwara Inn
Work Type
painting, hanging scroll
late 17th century
Creation Place: East Asia, Japan
Edo period, 1615-1868
Persistent Link
Level 3, Room 3500, Special Exhibitions Gallery
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk
painting proper: H. 33 × W. 79.7 cm (13 × 31 3/8 in.)
overall mounting, including roller ends and suspension cord: H. 133.4 × W. 99.7 cm (52 1/2 × 39 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • seal: on folding screen depicted: Hishikawa
  • inscription: on folding screen depicted: Hishikawa Moronobu hitsu
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Promised gift of Robert S. and Betsy G. Feinberg
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Publication History

Kobayashi Tadashi, The Yoshiwara Pleasure Quarters, Kokka, Kokkasha (July 2000), 1257

Kobayashi Tadashi, Imaging the floating world : essays on Ukiyoe prints and paintings of the Edo period (Tokyo, Japan, 2009), pp. 18-19

The Flowering of Edo Period Painting: Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection, exh. cat., Yomiuri Shinbunsha (Tokyo, 2013), pp. 144-145, cat. 71

Rachel Saunders, "Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection", Orientations, Orientations Magazine (Hong Kong, January/February 2020), vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 20-33, p. 24, fig. 4

Rachel Saunders and Yukio Lippit, Painting Edo: Selections from the Feinberg Collection of Japanese Art, exh. cat. (Cambridge, MA, 2020), p. 33, fig. 17

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

32Q: 2600 East Asian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 05/31/2015

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

Subjects and Contexts

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