• Courtesans in a brothel - left-hand panel from a triptych showing the forces of good and evil influences in the red-light district (遊郭善玉悪玉 - <i>Yūkaku zendama akudama</i>)
Courtesans in a brothel - left-hand panel from a triptych showing the forces of good and evil influences in the red-light district (遊郭善玉悪玉 - <i>Yūkaku zendama akudama</i>)
Courtesans in a brothel - left-hand panel from a triptych showing the forces of good and evil influences in the red-light district (遊郭善玉悪玉 - <i>Yūkaku zendama akudama</i>)

Eishōsai Chōki (栄松斎長喜) (artist )

Courtesans in a brothel - left-hand panel from a triptych showing the forces of good and evil influences in the red-light district (遊郭善玉悪玉 - Yūkaku zendama akudama)

Print


ca 1790
7.625 in x 11.75 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Chōki ga (長喜画)
Publisher: Tsutaya Jūzaburō [trimmed from the bottom]
Censor's seal: kiwame (the top of this seal is barely
visible at the bottom near the chest)
Ritsumeikan University- black and white
Muzeum Sztuki i Techniki Japońskiej Manggha, Krakow - center panel only
Portland Art Museum - Chōki triptych with similar theme
Waseda University Library - an edition of the 'Shingaku hayasome gusa' by Santō Kyōden
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - left panel from another triptych by Chōki

Aiban-sized print.

In 1790 Santō Kyōden published a book entitled Shingaku hayasome gusa (心学早染艸 - 'Fast-dyeing Mind Study'). "The book was a smashing success..." It was populated with half-naked figures representing good (善) and evil (悪). These little figures are constantly at odds, tugging and pulling at the morality of humans.

In this print in the Lyon Collection only the 'evil' figures appear. The setting is the interior of a high-class whorehouse in the Yoshiwara district. And if you click on the Yahoo link above you will see the full triptych where 14 evil figures outnumber the good ones 7 to 1. This is a space given over to licentious desires. No question of good morals winning out here.

Tsutaya Jūzaburō hired Chōki to produce a series of prints based on this struggle between good and evil.

****

Zendama and akudama (善玉悪玉) represent the forces of good and evil.

There is a copy of the full triptych in the Tobacco and Salt Museum in Tokyo.


beautiful women (bijin-ga - 美人画) (genre)
Tsutaya Jūzaburō (蔦屋重三郎) (publisher)