Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: ‘Ureshisou’ – Meiji nenkan tokon geigi no fuzoku (A Geisha of the Meiji Era (1868-1912) Looks Delighted)
Series title: Fuzoku Sanjuniso (Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners)
Publisher: Tsunashima Kamekichi
Dimensions: 23.8 x 35.6cm
First edition print.
This young geisha is attending a hotaru-gari (firefly catching party), a favourite pastime on a warm summer night. The title describes her as ‘ureshi’ (delighted), because she has just caught a firefly.
Her robe is made of very thin silk, ideal for summertime wear. The fabric is so light that the outline of her arm appears through it. The girl’s head is bent forward, exposing the back of her neck, considered an erotic part of the body by the Japanese. Strands of her hair and her long sleeves are wafted in the summer breeze, suggesting coolness. The night sky is sprinkled with mica that adds to a shimmering effect when the print is moved.