Home page

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
1 More
KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)

Tatsumi Roko

Details
KITAGAWA UTAMARO (1754-1806)
Tatsumi Roko
Woodblock print, from the series Komei bijin rokkasen (Renowned beauties likened to the Six Immortal Poets), signed Utamaro ga, published by Omiya Gonkuro
Vertical oban: 15 1/8 x 10 1/8 in. (38.4 x 25.7 cm.)

Brought to you by

Takaaki Murakami
Takaaki Murakami Vice President, Specialist and Head of Department

Lot Essay

A series of reformation policies were introduced during Kansei Era (1789-1801) to promote morality and frugality, and entertaining activities were under strict surveillances. As a part of the result, only names of licensed courtesans in Yoshiwara were allowed to appear on woodblock prints. In response to the policies, Utamaro produced this series of six prints in which the courtesans’ names were indicated in rebus format.
In this particular print, dragon (tatsu) and snake (mi) on the cartouche marked southeast direction, where the courtesans were referred to as Tatsumi geisha in Fukagawa area. The oar, ro, and incense, ko, were puns on the courtesan’s name. Her red undershirt, striking hairstyle, purple singlet and kimono with broad black collar and striped patterns revealed her imposing personality and established her status as a high rank courtesan. The bracelet and necklace demonstrated her keenness to Edo fashion at the time.

For another impression, see Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (21.6457).

More from Japanese and Korean Art

View All
View All