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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: Center panel of A Meeting at Yagurashita (櫓下の会合)
from the series A Comparison of Popular Beauties
(Ryūkō Bijin Awase - 流行美人合)

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Dates: circa 1837,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.125 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Kōchōrō Kunisada ga
香蝶楼国貞画
Publisher: Tsutaya Kichizō
(Marks 556 -seal 03-004)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Tokyo Metropolitan Library - whole triptych; Edo-Tokyo Museum; Mead Art Museum; Art Institute of Chicago - link to Shunshō print of women at the Yagurashita unlicensed quarter;

Physical description:

There is a Shunshō print in the Art Institute in Chicago dating from ca. 1771 showing a courtesan and her attendant at the Yagurashita unlicensed pleasure district in Fukagawa. The title is Yagurashita no Bansho (Evening Bell at Yagurashita).

In The Actors Image: Print Makers of the Katsukawa School the Shunshō print is described in some detail on page 174: "In the Fukagawa [深川] district, on the east bank of the Sumida River, were located many of the thriving "unlicensed" pleasure quarters (okabasho) of the city of Edo. Unlicensed districts, which had grown up during the eighteenth century, provided a cheaper, more down-to-earth harlotry than the elaborate courting rituals that were de rigueur at Yoshiwara, Edo's single licensed district....

The Fukagawa unlicensed brothels were dubbed "child houses" (kodo-moya), and operated according to the "summoning" (yobadashi) system, whereby the women were called out to entertain at particular restaurants and riverside hostelries (funayado)."