Yoshitoshi Portrait of a Geisha Seated for a Photographer
Medium Woodblock Print
Photo Date 1881 Print Date c. 1881
Dimensions 14.75 x 9.5 in. (375 x 241 mm)
Photo Country Japan
Photographer Country Japan
Contact Charles Schwartz
About This Image
Unusual Japanese woodblock print relating to photography.
The Kanji text next to the image explains that this scene is part of a series entitled, "Twenty-four hours at Shinbashi & Yanagibashi: 12 noon." This series depicts each hour in a geisha's day, of which this particular image is for the noon hour, when the geisha has her photograph taken.
The geisha in this print is dressed in a purple Kimono and sits demurely for her portrait at a photographer's studio. The literal text is, "Shinryu nijuyojikan; twenty-four hours of the budding willow.” Sebastian Dobson explains that the word 'Shinryu' has a double meaning here. It is a poetic reference to the willow tree, but it also conceals an elegant contraction of the Chinese characters for the famous Tokyo pleasure quarters of Shinbashi and Yanagibashi.
The photographer whose studio the geisha sits in is identified as Tsukuba Kitaniwa (1842-1887) and his studio was in the Asakusa district of Tokyo.
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