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An image of Kisakata of Ôhishi-ya by Isoda KORYÛSAI


(Japan 1735 – 1790)

Kisakata of Ôhishi-ya
Other titles:
An Oiran with two maids
Alternative title:
Hinagata wakana-no hatsu moyô: Ôhishi-ya nai Kisakata
Place of origin
Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
Media category
Materials used
colour woodblock print

38.0 x 26.1 cm

Signature & date
Signed l.l., in Japanese, ink [incised on block] "Koryûsai ga [picture by Koryûsai]". Not dated.
Purchased 1930
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

The elegant courtesan ('oiran') is shown writing, presumably a poem or witty exchange with a suitor. Beside her are her two assistants and an inkbox with all its contents on the floor. The print belongs to a series comprising over 110 prints, published in the mid 1770s to the early 1780s, each to show a new kimono pattern. Sample patterns for kimono were conventionally printed in the flat kimono shape, but in this series, popular courtesans are dressed in the new patterns. Her robe is decorated with pine needles and a set of the symbols that denote a chapter of the classic 'Tale of Genji'.

The Asian Collections, AGNSW, 2003, pg.249.

Bibliography (5)

Gary Hickey, Beauty & desire in Edo period Japan, 'Pleasure Town', pg. 25-36, Parkes, 1998, 30 (colour illus.), 70. 24

Verlie Just, Four Centuries of Ukiyo-e Prints, Brisbane, 1997. 9

Jackie Menzies, The Floating World: Japan's world of transient pleasures, Sydney, 1994, (illus.). C20

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Floating World', Sydney, 2003, 249 (colour illus.).

KUKI Shûzô, Reflections on Japanese taste: the structure of iki, Sydney, 1997, 84 (illus.).

Exhibition history (3)

The Floating World: Japan's World of transient pleasures, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 May 1994–17 Jul 1994

Four Centuries of Ukiyo-e Prints, Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, 07 May 1997–27 Jul 1997

Beauty and Desire in Edo period Japan, National Gallery of Australia, Parkes, 06 Jun 1998–09 Aug 1998