Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Getting a Tattoo, Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners

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Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: 'Itasou': Kansei nenkan joro no fuzoku (The Appearance of a Prostitute of the Kansei Era (1789-1801) Looking in Pain While Getting a Tattoo)
Series title: Fuzoku Sanjuniso (Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners)
Publisher: Tsunashima Kamekichi
Date: 1888
Size: 23.9 x 35.6 cm

Condition: Minor ink smudges on the lady's arms. Minor pigment spots on her face.

 

First edition print.

 

The girl in this design bites her handkerchief in distress as her arm is tattooed. The tattoo appears to be the opening strokes of 'sakura' (cherry blossom), and is probably the name of nickname of her lover.

 

The joro of the title was a term for a lower-class prostitute. Tattooing was a practice of the demimonde and gangsters, labourers and courtesans were the most likely groups be tattooed.

 

The girl's underrobe is a traditional red colour, which had erotic connotations and its depiction in woodblock prints was slightly provocative. The flowery pattern on her kimono is probably Yoshitoshi's own design. She has blackened teeth, traditionally considered to be beautiful. Though the practice was the mark of a married woman, courtesans also used it as a sign of adulthood.

 

 

More Information
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title The Appearance of a Prostitute of the Kansei Era (1789-1801) Looking in Pain While Getting a Tattoo
Subject Beauty & Female
Condition Report Minor ink smudges on the lady's arms. Minor pigment spots on her face.
Dimensions 23.9 x 35.6 cm