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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Courtesan seated on a balcony

Courtesan seated on a balcony

ca. 1810

Kitagawa Tsukimaro

Japanese, active 1801 - 1829

A courtesan is shown at repose in a room that opens to a balcony and view of the bay. She holds a blue-white porcelain cup, while resting a hand within the folds of her robe. A smoking set is placed at one side, the box containing her shamisen, a three-stringed instrument, at the other. Tobacco introduced from Portugal, and shamisen introduced from Okinawa, were both expensive and exotic items in in those days Japan, clearly hallmarks of a fashionable courtesan and her affected lifestyle. The painting's three-dimensional sense reveals the artist's adaptation of a western perspective combined with a traditional style of beauty.

Color on silk
16 1/8 x 25 7/8 in. (41 x 65.7 cm)
Overall h.: 55 1/2 in.
Overall w.: 27 5/8 in.
Gift of Miss Cora Clem
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Legends, Tales, Poetry: Visual Narrative in Japanese Art, December 22, 2012 - July 21, 2013

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Refined Harmony: Decorative Arts from the Edo Period", March 7, 2003 - March 23, 2004

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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