Jul 29, 2014

Courtesan and Sleeping Attendant

Courtesan and Sleeping Attendant


late 1760s

Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信

(Japanese, 1724–1770)

Color woodblock print, with embossing

Overall: 28.1 x 20.1 cm (11 1/16 x 7 15/16 in.)

The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith 1985.309



In this print, a courtesan emerges from her bed to find her attendant asleep. As was customary, the courtesan has her obi sash tied at the front, while her servant has hers tied at the back. The strong contrast between the colorful bedclothes and the white of the courtesan’s robe is heightened by the embossing of the fabric folds, lending a three-dimensional effect to her form. The technique involves pressing a carved but unpigmented woodblock against the print surface.

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