Katsukawa Shunsen (Shunko II), ‘Courtesans with Client at Harbor Scene in Snow’, ca. 1810s, Scholten Japanese Art
Katsukawa Shunsen (Shunko II), ‘Courtesans with Client at Harbor Scene in Snow’, ca. 1810s, Scholten Japanese Art

signed Kashosai Shunsen ga, with censor's seal kiwame (approved), publisher's seal Ue, Kawaguchi (Kawaguchiya Uhei of Fukusendo), ca. 1810s

oban yoko-e 10 1/8 by 15 in., 25.8 by 38.2 cm

Two women wearing matching over-robes walk along a snow-covered harbor followed by a servant carrying a large bundle on his back. They seem to be in the company of a well-dressed man wearing a heavy brocade outer-robe who is addressing another man, probably his retainer, wearing a straw cape and wide-brimmed hat who is bearing a sword. All but the retainer carry snow-laden umbrellas: the umbrella of the servant is marked Kawaguchi for the publisher. The ground is thick with snow, and as is often the case today, the shoes reveal their respective ranks. The servant wears simple wood geta with tabi socks; the wealthy man and his retainer wear heavier geta with tabi socks and a cloth (or leather) section at the toe to provide some protection from the cold; the women wears black lacquer geta without any socks which identifies them as courtesans. At the lower right, small shelter tucked beside a stone lantern protects a female dog nursing her puppies, one of whom has ventured out to playfully bark at the entourage.

Series: 10-4144

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Publisher: Kawaguchiya Uhei of Fukusendo

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.17994

About Katsukawa Shunsen (Shunko II)