Kitagawa Utamaro 喜多川歌麿 (1753-1806)
Picture-book of the Green Houses: Annual Events
(Seirō ehon: Nenjū Gyōji 青楼絵本 年中行事), vol. 2

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), 1804
Artist-proof for woodblock-printed book; ink on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003

The members of an unidentified brothel are shown here gathering in preparation for the annual autumn harvest celebration. Included in this group are five oiran, two shinzō, four kamuro, and a yarite (supervisor).

This rare, monochromatic “working proof” of Picture-book of the Green Houses: Annual Events was intended for experiments with various color designs in preparation for the final, full-color printing. According to annotations in the text, before entering the Richard Lane Collection, it was owned by the renowned French art critic and book publisher Edmond de Goncourt (1822-1896).

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