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Courtesan in Night Attire Standing on a Verandah

Suzuki Harunobu

Asian Art

A young woman’s slumping posture indicates that she is dejected. On the paper screen behind her are the faint shadows of musicians, indicating that she has left a party to be alone. Knowing Harunobu’s tendency to hide literary references in his designs, scholars have suggested that this image refers to a well-known Japanese story about a beloved mirror, a female outcaste, and a cursed bell, which are represented by the stone basin full of reflective water, the lonely beauty, and the dipper (which is shaped like a mallet used to strike a bell). The story tells of the woe that comes to people who are greedy or overly attached to worldly things.
MEDIUM Color woodblock print on paper
  • Place Made: Japan
  • DATES ca. 1767
    PERIOD Edo Period
    DIMENSIONS Sheet: 10 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. (27.3 x 21.0 cm) Image: 10 1/2 x 8 1/4 in. (26.7 x 21.0 cm)  (show scale)
    SIGNATURE Harunobu ga
    CREDIT LINE Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1724–1770). Courtesan in Night Attire Standing on a Verandah, ca. 1767. Color woodblock print on paper, Sheet: 10 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. (27.3 x 21.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund, 45.158.1 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 45.158.1_IMLS_PS3.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 45.158.1_IMLS_PS3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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