Hayami Tsuneaki Shungyōsai 速水恒章春暁斎 (1767-1823)
Traditions of Fashion and Cosmetics in the Capital
(Miyako fūzoku kewai den 都風俗化粧伝), vol. 3

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), 1813
Woodblock-printed book; ink on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003
(TD 2012-03-022.03)

An early 19th century precursor to women’s magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Vogue, this text informed female readers about current fashion and offered concrete advice about clothing and make-up. Though their imagery is far from explicit, the fact that these woodblock-printed books inform women how to effectively construct visible signifiers of their sexual identities not only underscores their relevance in a discussion about shunga but also demonstrates the futility of any attempt to distinguish between “erotic works” and those located elsewhere within ukiyo-e’s seamless spectrum of sexual candor. Not surprisingly, Shungyōsai also produced explicit works of shunga, on display elsewhere in this exhibition.

In the upper half of both pages appear illustrations of how the sash (obi) of a woman’s kimono may be tied: from right to left, the tall-male knot (takao-musubi), the Koman knot (koman-musubi), the standing knot (tate-musubi), and the Shimabara knot (shimabara-musubi). In the lower left corner appears a diagram that offers tips on the arrangement of a woman’s hair and kimono.

View this book in its entirety on museum database (enabled through support by the Robert F. Lange Foundation)