Courtesan and Attendants

Courtesan and Attendants

c. 1748–51

attributed to Engetsudō 艶月堂


Hanging scroll; ink and color on paper

Overall: 189.8 x 64.8 cm (74 3/4 x 25 1/2 in.); Painting only: 90.2 x 43.8 cm (35 1/2 x 17 1/4 in.)

The Kelvin Smith Collection, given by Mrs. Kelvin Smith 1985.255



The courtesan wears a pair of tall, lacquered wooden clogs and heavy robes, indicating it is winter. The elaborate span of her tortoiseshell comb in her fashionable coiffure enhances her glamorous appearance. Her blue-and-white striped obi is tied in a loose bow in front, typical for her profession. The round, stylized cherry blossom crest of her "house" (brothel), partially visible on her shoulder just above the shawl, also appears on the robes of her two attendants (kamuro). The attendants hold shuttlecocks, used in a game associated with New Year celebrations. One girl stares out at the viewer; the other looks back. The frontal view of the attendant’s face is somewhat rare in ukiyo-e painting and prints.

See also

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

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

Is something not working on this page? Please email

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