Courtesans of the Three Capitals: Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo

Maker(s)
Artist: Tsukioka Settei 月岡雪鼎 (1710-1786)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1777
Medium
Ink and color on silk
Dimensions
H x W: 105.7 x 43.5 cm (41 5/8 x 17 1/8 in)
Geography
Japan
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1898.433
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Painting
Type

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

Keywords
courtesan, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, ukiyo-e
Provenance

To 1898
Edward S. Hull Jr., New York to 1898 [1]

From 1898 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Edward S. Hull Jr. in 1898 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 197, as well as Voucher No. 38, November 1898, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Edward S. Hull Jr. was Ernest Francisco Fenollosa’s (1853-1908) lawyer. Hull often acted as an agent, facilitating purchases of objects consigned to him by Fenollosa, as well as purchases of objects consigned to him by Fenollosa's well-known associate, Bunshichi Kobayashi (see correspondence, Hull to Freer, 1898-1900, as well as invoices from E.S. Hull Jr., 1898-1900, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives). See also, Ingrid Larsen, "'Don’t Send Ming or Later Pictures': Charles Lang Freer and the First Major Collection of Chinese Painting in an American Museum," Ars Orientalis vol. 40 (2011), pgs. 15 and 34. See further, Thomas Lawton and Linda Merrill, Freer: A Legacy of Art, (Washington, DC and New York: Freer Gallery of Art and H. N. Abrams, 1993), pgs. 133-134.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s)

Edward S. Hull Jr. (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Label

Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo were the three major cities of Edo-period (1615-1868) Japan. Each city had a distinct culture. Kyoto, the imperial capital, remained the center of traditional court culture and of fine craft production. Nearby Osaka became a thriving commercial center with its own cultural circles of artists, poets, and performers. Edo, a new metropolis and center of the shogun's government, rapidly developed distinct customs and artistic and literary forms. This painting portrays courtesans who represent each of the three cities: from left to right, Osaka, Edo, and Kyoto. The inscription at the top of the painting laments the sad fate of the women who have left their families to work in the pleasure quarters.

Published References
  • Kamigata Fuzoku-ga no kenkyu. Japan. p.40, fig.70.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting: Freer Gallery of Art Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 60, pp. 160-163.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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