Courtesan: "June" in a series of Twelve Months

This is a large monochrome print of a courtesan wearing kimono with iris design. The courtesan is standing with her right hand in the sleeve that she raises to her chin and left hand gathering up her kimono; Her cloak with bamboo leaf and gentian flower design is slipping off her shoulder and revealing her dark kimono with iris roundels. She has long hair; her hair is tied and draped on the back. She is looking toward the right side. There is the artist’s signature and seal, and publisher’s seal on the right.
Kaigetsudô Dohan
c. 1714
This extravagantly large print is one of a very rare series issued in Edo in the 1710s by the Kaigetsudô School of artists. Perhaps designed as inexpensive substitutes for paintings, Kaigetsudô prints invariably depict courtesans swathed in magnificent bold-patterned robes, against a plain ground. The typical Kaigetsudô courtesan is a full-bodied woman who is both seductive and yet somehow beyond our reach; for all that she is on display, she remains in her own closed-off world of reveries. (M. Graybill, Senior Curator of Asian Art, March, 2002)
Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker
Saturday, May 21, 2022