Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, Playing Shamisen, Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners

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Artist: Yoshitoshi Tsukioka (1839-1892)
Title: 'Tanoshindesou' - Kaei nenkan shiso no fuzoku (A Teacher of the Kaei Era (1848-1854) Looks as if She's Enjoying Herself)
Series title: Fuzoku Sanjuniso (Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners)
Publisher: Tsunashima Kamekichi
Date: 1888
Size: 23.9 x 35.5 cm

Condition: Minor pigment spots on the lady's skin area.

 

First edition print.

 

This lady is a shamisen teacher. The shamisen is a musical instrument with three strings made of braided silk, a long tuning arm with ivory pegs and a resonant wooden body faced with catskin. Capable of great range in tone and emotional quality, the shamisen was used primarily as an accompaniment to the human voice. It was a favourite instrument for geisha and the instrument is usually associated with their profession. As such, the lady in this print would have taught a majority of geisha. It was unusual for women to work and earn their own living, therefore traditionally shamisen teachers were considered rather unhappy people, the opposite of what the title suggests.

 

The teacher wears a scarf and several layers of clothing as she plays her instrument. Her robes are somber, befitting her vocation. She wears her hair in a 'pressed down' casual style, favoured by geisha.

 

 

More Information
Artist Name Yoshitoshi Tsukioka
Title A Teacher of the Kaei Era (1848-1854) Looks as if She's Enjoying Herself
Subject Beauty & Female
Condition Report Minor pigment spots on the lady's skin area.
Dimensions 23.9 x 35.5 cm