Kikukawa Eizan, ‘Twelve Hours in the Pleasure Quarters: Daytime, Hour of the Snake, Courtesan Tomoshie of the Daimonji’, ca. 1812, Scholten Japanese Art

signed Kiku Eizan hitsu, with censors kiwame (approved) seal and gyoji (publisher guild) seal, Tsusan (Tsumuraya Saburobei), and publisher seal Ezakiya (Ezakiya Ichibei of Tenjudo), ca. 1812

oban tate-e 14 7/8 by 10 in., 37.9 by 25.5 cm

It's mid-morning, the hour of the snake, at 10:00, and the courtesan Tomoshie is getting up at the Daimonji brothel. She stands barely dressed holding her yukata (light cotton kimono) closed just below her waist, exposing a deep décolletage and much of her bare legs. An ornate uchikake (outer-robe), perhaps tossed aside in haste the previous evening, is draped over the kimono rack to her left. An attendant kneeling at her side, possibly a shinzo (teenaged apprentice), holds a tray with a porcelain bowl filled with water which was likely used for washing up, as Tomoshie rubs the back of her neck and ear with the sleeve of her robe and wisps of hair fall into her face. The younger beauty who hasn't bothered to completely secure her rumpled kimono shows a flash of her upper thigh and also has a few strands of hair out of place, suggesting a morning rush in the household.

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Publisher: Ezakiya Ichibei of Tenjudo

Eiko Kondo, ed., Eizan, Japan Ukiyo-e Museum, 1996, p. 63, no. 83
Minneapolis Institute of Art (, from the Hill Collection, accession no. P.78.65.95

About Kikukawa Eizan