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Asian art

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Looking smoky - appearances of the housewife of the Kyôwa era

19 May 1888


Tsukioka Yoshitoshi


1839 - 1892


In terms of the centuries-old 'ukiyo-e' tradition, the period from the mid to the end of the nineteenth century is considered the decadent period', since the prints are often characterised by crude and violent subjects, by harshness rather than delicacy, and by gaudy synthetic colours rather than the delicate vegetable dyes of earlier prints. Although Yoshitoshi's works fall within the 'decadent' category, he was perhaps the most creative of his contemporaries and capable of subtle, graceful compositions as exemplified in this beautiful print which shows a middle-class woman fanning a fire. The print belongs to the series 'Thirty-two aspects of customs and manners', which depicts typical moments in the daily lives of women of different social classes during the previous one hundred years.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 284.


Other Title

Looking smoky: the appearance of a housewife of the Kyowa era

Alternative title

Fûzoku sanjû-ni sô: Kemusô: Kyôwa nenkan naishitsu no fûzoku

Place where the work was made



19 May 1888

Media category


Materials used

colour woodcut


36.7 x 24.0 cm

Signature & date

Signed l.l., in Japanese, ink [incised on block] "Yoshitoshi [and artist's seal]." Not dated.


Purchased 1991


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 6 publications


Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 244 (colour illus.), 284 (colour illus.). The image appearing on pg. 244 is in detail.

Ann Macarthur, Inspirations - Art ideas for primary and middle years, Carlton South, 2004, cover (colour illus.), 12 (colour illus.). card 12

Jackie Menzies, The Floating World: Japan's world of transient pleasures, Sydney, 1994, not paginated. (colour illus.). M32

SEGI Shin'ichi, Yoshitoshi: The Splendid Decadent, Tokyo, 1985, 94 (colour illus.). fig. no. 56

John Stevenson, Yoshitoshi's Women, United States of America, 1986. plate no. 6

Eric van den Ing, Robert Schaap and John Stevenson, Beauty & Violence: Japanese Prints by Yoshitoshi 1839-1892, Netherlands, 1992, 139 (illus.). cat. no. 63.6