Katsukawa Shunsen (Shunko II), ‘Geisha Walking on the Riverbank by Mimeguri Shrine’, ca. 1810s, Scholten Japanese Art

signed Kashosai Shunsen ga, ca. 1810s

oban yoko-e 10 5/8 by 15 1/2 in., 26.9 by 39.3 cm

Two beauties wearing complementary purple kimono walk along the shore while holding blue parasols to protect themselves from the sun. A maid follows them carrying two black shamisen boxes, suggesting the women are geisha. A young man pauses ahead of them gesturing with a folding fan over his shoulder while holding the hand of a boy who plays with two puppies romping nearby. The top of a large stone torii sunk below the pathway on the embankment identifies the location as the entrance to the Mimeguri shrine which was located on the eastern shore of the Sumida River in the scenic area of Mukojima. On the opposite shore we see the Imado Bridge over the Sanya Canal towards the Yoshiwara, to the left is the five-story pagoda of the Senso-ji Temple at Asakusa.

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.25791

About Katsukawa Shunsen (Shunko II)