Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: The Upstairs Parlor of a Brothel (Nikai zashiki no zu - 二かい座敷の図) from the series Modern Select Dolls (Tōsei mitate ningyō no uchi - 當盛見立人形之内)

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Dates: 1856,created
Dimensions: 20.5 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: kiri
Publishers: Honmo (Marks U074 - seal 30-055)
and possibly Sanoya Kihei (Marks 447)
Carver: Hori Sashichikoku
Censor's seal: Aratame
Date seal: 1856, 2nd month

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Waseda University - right panel; Waseda University - left panel;

Physical description:

Courtesans relaxing in the 'tatami' room of a greenhouse ex B. W. Robinson collection.

Prints in this series illustrate carved groups of “dolls” displayed at Kannon Temple in Asakusa. Although the word ningyō is translated as “dolls”, these lifelike dolls (iki-ningyō) were in fact extremely realistic life-sized clothed statues. This print series is listed as number 185 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).


There are at least five different iterations of this diptych including the work of several artists: Kuniyoshi, Toyokuni III, Yoshimori and Kunisato. In each the figures are essentially the same, but the setting is reframed slightly.