Jul 31, 2020
Aug 14, 2014

Courtesans Promenading on the Nakanochō

Courtesans Promenading on the Nakanochō


c. 1790

Part of a set. See all set records

Utagawa Toyokuni 歌川 豊国

(Japanese, 1769–1825)

Japan, Edo period


Triptych of color woodblock prints

Each: 37.8 x 25.8 cm (14 7/8 x 10 3/16 in.)

Bequest of Edward L. Whittemore 1930.211



The Nakanocho was the main street in the famous Yoshiwara pleasure district, a walled enclosure that housed as many as 4,000 courtesans during its height. In the early evening, elaborately dressed courtesans, accompanied by attendants, promenaded on the main thoroughfare, as in this scene.

On the left side of the street, an unaccompanied courtesan holding a long, slender pipe lounges on a porch and converses with another courtesan. At the right, a pair of courtesans attract the attention of two men, one presumably a samurai who wears a hooded cloak and hides his face behind a fan. The open buildings with shop curtains hanging from their eaves are teahouses, establishments where men could arrange appointments with courtesans in the more prestigious brothels.

See also
Japanese Art
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.