Courtesan Seated on a Bench Enjoying the Evening Cool in Summer

Courtesan Seated on a Bench Enjoying the Evening Cool in Summer


Kamigaki Hōryū 上柿 芳龍

(Japanese, dates unknown)

Hanging scroll, ink and color on silk

Overall: 78 x 31.6 cm (30 11/16 x 12 7/16 in.)

Gift of Mieko and Sebastian Izzard 1998.290



In a pensive pose with her chin resting in her hand, a courtesan is seated on a wooden bench that extends diagonally across the lower half of the scroll. Her open robe suggests that it is a warm evening-perhaps late summer or early fall, as indicated by the grapevine pattern on her kimono. The floral patterns in the composition hint at the seasons: the plum blossom on the fan for spring; grape pattern on the robe for late summer; and chrysanthemum design on the bench indicating autumn. Note also how the grapevine pattern in the painting's mounting mimics the design of her kimono. The overall mood is one of intimacy, created by Hõryþ through the delicate rendering of the courtesan's facial features and hands. In contrast to the other scrolls of beauties nearby, the artist here portrayed his subject with little background, allowing her grace and elegance to carry the picture.

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