Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892)
Title: ‘Mitasou’ – Tenpo nenkan o-kosho fuzoku (A young girl of the Tenpo era (1830-1844) Looks Eager to Peep)
Series: Fuzoku Sanjuniso – Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners
Publisher: Tsunashima Kamekichi
Dimensions: 23.9 x 35.6 cm
First edition print.
A ‘kosho’ was a maid in a samurai household, usually coming from a wealthy merchant family. Away from home and coming from a different social class, they usually felt excluded and rejected in their new surroundings. A young lady such as the one in this print would usually be homesick and this is suggested by her looking through the bamboo screen.
The light, bright, morning-glory pattern of the robe suggest the summer season. The lady’s obi has a striking black-on-black peony pattern which catches the light when the print is moved. The kimono has very long sleeves (furisode), which may refer to her being unmarried.