Jul 29, 2014

Love at the Brothel Gate

Love at the Brothel Gate


late 1760s

Suzuki Harunobu 鈴木春信

(Japanese, 1724–1770)

Color woodblock print

Sheet: 29 x 21.7 cm (11 7/16 x 8 9/16 in.)

Gift of J. H. Wade 1921.349



Courtesans were on display to potential clients through bars, an aspect of their jobs that also afforded an opportunity to have socially distanced interactions with fellow entertainment district denizens. Here, a courtesan with a crane motif on her obi sash converses with her lover, a young man carrying a miniature theater. The poem in the cloud above them comes from New Collection of Poems Ancient and Modern (新古今和歌集) and reads,

Although I yearn,
I do not speak as days and months,
pass by behind my cedar gate.
How can I endure keeping this secret within?

See also
Japanese Art
Japanese Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Gift of J. H. Wade

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