Advanced Search

K-12 Educator
K-12 Student
Museum Visitor
UMMA Docent
UMMA Staff
University Faculty
University Student
Between and Mortarboard


UMMA Object Specific Fields






Query builder

Courtesan Reading a Letter

Accession Number
1955/1.129

Title
Courtesan Reading a Letter

Artist(s)
Ishikawa Toyonobu

Object Creation Date
circa 1744-1746

Medium & Support
long-and-large size hand-colored woodblock print (urushi e) on paper (chôôban)

Dimensions
19 3/4 in. x 8 7/8 in. ( 50.2 cm x 22.5 cm )

Credit Line
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker

Label copy
Technically, this print was made in the same way as the monochrome print by Kaigetsudô Dohan of circa 1714 (1955/1.128); both were printed from a single block, with black ink. The contrast between the two works shows how the printing process, artistic style, and women’s fashion had changed in thirty years. By the 1740s, wood blocks were carved with greater detail and delicacy of line, and we can see the impact of Nishikawa Sukenobu’s style in the way the subject is presented as self-absorbed, in a private moment. Kimono designs have evolved from bold overall motifs to a busy, patchwork-like combination of small patterns. The most striking change, of course, is the addition of color, in hand-applied vegetable pigments of pink and yellow; here the colors are still quite fresh. The tasteful furnishings in the room where the courtesan stands further emphasize an overall effect of sumptuous luxury.
M. Graybill
"Courtesans, Cross-Dressers, and the Girl Next Door Images of the Feminine in Japanese Popular Prints"
3/9 - 9/1/02

Primary Object Classification
Print

Primary Object Type
color print

Collection Area
Asian

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Figures
Plants
interiors
reading
standing
ukiyo e
window

2 Related Resources

Japan Pax Tokugawa 1600-1868
(Part of: Empires and Colonialism)
Literacy, Reading, and Writing
(Part of 10 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved