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Moatside Prostitute

Moatside Prostitute
by Utamaro 1 Kitagawa (1753-1806)

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Artist: Utamaro 1 Kitagawa (1753-1806) 喜多川歌麿
Title: Moatside Prostitute
Series: Five Shades of Ink in the Northern Quarter
Date 1st edition?1794-1795
Date of this artwork?1920s/30s (may not be accurate)
Publisher 1st edition?Unknown 不明
Publisher (this edition)?Fusui Gabo
Medium (1st edition): Woodblock
Medium (this edition): Woodblock
Format (1st edition): Oban
Format (this edition): Oban
DB artwork code: 31279
Notes (1st edition)?Date: Originally published by Ise-Mago, c.1794-95.

Documentation: See page 94 of Volume 1, and page 146 of Volume 2, The Passionate Art of Kitagawa Utamaro, by Shugo Asano and Timothy Clark, Chiba City/London, 1995.
Page 343 (#701) of Images From the Floating World, by Richard Lane, 1978, Dorsett 1982, among many others. This is one of Utamaro's most documented images.

A prostitute from one of the small brothels known as Kashi-mise (moatside brothels), after their location in Yoshiwara next to the culvets on the east and west edges of the Quarter and in Fushimi-cho. The price for engaging one of these women could be 1 bu (one quarter of a gold ryo), but was more often 2 shu (half a bu, or 500-600 copper coins). There were even prostitutes who cost only half this figure.

Here the woman is depicted using a toothpick, probably getting ready for her daytime stint in the brothel. The small bag of incense (kake-go or nioi-bukuro) hanging from her neck was used to disguise body odors. Signed Utamaro hitsu.
Notes (this edition)?The following information was taken from the original web listing of this artwork. Often written by non-experts, there may be inaccuracies:

Monday, 19 November 2007

Moatside Prostitute
from the series "Five Shades of Ink in the Northern Quarter"

Date: originated c. 1795, this is a deluxe 1920s edition published by Fusui Gabo
Size: oban, approx. 10.5" x 15.5"
Condition: VG, with minor flaws
Impression: Fine, white mica background on tanned paper, nice impression, stong keylines
Color: Fine, good strong color with bleed through to the verso
Fusui Gabo was a publishing house active during the 1930's in Tokyo owned by Fusui Shobo. Fusui Gabo was renowned for the high quality of their prints, and their specialty was reproducing prints by famous ukiyo-e masters, the publisher also worked with shin hanga artists, including Takahashi Shotei (Hiroaki) on bijin-ga and landscape prints.
The publisher's seal is found stamped in the side margin of the print above the printer carver seals and reads "Copyright owned by Fusui Gabo Company" (Hanyen shoyu Fusui Gabo hakko). Most of the prints published by Fusui Gabo are not dated. Fusui Gabo was not active after World War II and it is presumed that the company disbanded during the war.

The artworks displayed on JAODB are not for sale.

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Site copyright: Dr Ross F. Walker. Copyright of the displayed artwork: the original owner. The information contained on this website is provided as an educational resource to scholars and collectors of Japanese art. JAODB would like to thank the caretakers of these art items for their contribution to this database. The items displayed here are not being offered for sale. Unless otherwise indicated the displayed item is not in the ownership of JAODB or Ross Walker.