Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: ‘Samusou’ – Tempo nenkan Fukagawa Nakamachi geisha fuzoku (A Geisha in Fukagawa Nakamachi of the Tempo era (1830-1844) Looking Frozen)
Series title: Fuzoku Sanjuniso (Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners)
Publisher: Tsunashima Kamekichi
Dimensions: 23.9 x 35.5 cm
First edition print.
Battling a snowstorm, this stylish young lady is on her way to work at geisha house in the Nakamachi ward of Fukagawa in the eastern part of Tokyo. She pushes against the wind with her umbrella. An unusual printing technique called ita-bokashi (block gradation) has been employed for a beautiful effect along the ribs on the umbrella. She wears two layers of kimono, with a small repeated design. The mon on the sleeve is of three rabbits stylised to look like radishes.
For the Edokko, common people of Edo, the life of a Fukagawa geisha came to represent an ideal existence. Samurai visited the Yoshiwara, the main licensed brothel, while Fukagawa was for the chonin. The geisha there had a reputation for being high-spirited – this lady smiles even as she struggles with the elements.