• An elegant <i>oiran</i> wearing a winter kimono decorated with a dragon.
An elegant <i>oiran</i> wearing a winter kimono decorated with a dragon.
An elegant <i>oiran</i> wearing a winter kimono decorated with a dragon.

Katsukawa Shunsen (勝川春好) (artist 1762 – ca 1830)

An elegant oiran wearing a winter kimono decorated with a dragon.


ca 1825 – 1830
Signed: Katsukawa Shunsen ga
Seal (in red): Shun
British Museum - printed as a nishiki-e dated ca. 1810-20
Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco
Victoria and Albert Museum As with most kakemono or hanging scrolls there is no publisher's seal. This particular image was printed both as a nishiki-e or brocade image and as an aizuri-e or picture done mainly in blue. That variation in color might be an indication of its popularity.

There is another copy of this triptych in the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden.The strength or depth of the blues on this piece would indicate that it was printed with the newly imported Prussian blue inks. That would mean that this kakemono can be dated to no earlier than ca. 1825. There was also another copy in the Worcester Art Museum.


It should be noted that the 'Shun' seal seen below the signature takes the form of a bat, a propitious symbol, with its wings finishing off the circle - much like that of the toshidama used by the Utagawa school artists.


John Fiorillo and Peter Ujlaki noted in an article on Shigeharu in Andon that when courtesans wore clothing decorated with a dragon that it was an indication of their high rank.



1) In a small black and white image in Masterpieces of Japanese Prints: The European Collections - Ukiyo-e from the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kodansha International, 1991, p.17 and again in a larger reproduction in color on page 78. Unlike the copy in the Lyon Collection the one in the V & A is a nishiki-e.

2) In a large, full-page, color reproduction in Japanese Prints by Catherine David, 2010, Éditions Place des Victoires, p. 203.

3) In color in Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collection 4: Victoria and Albert Museum I, Kodansha, 1989, #136.

4) in black and white in Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections: Museo d'Arte Orientale, Genoa II, vol. 11, Kodansha, 1989, supervised by Muneshige Narazaki, p. 168, #27.
Kakemono-e - 掛物絵 (genre)
beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)