Kikukawa School 菊川派 (c. 1800s–1860s)
Ōta Nampo 太田南畝 (1749–1823)
Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), c. 1820
Album; ink and color on silk
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003
A Dutchman, identifiable by his blond, curly hair and his Western attire, enjoys an afternoon of merriment with a courtesan. He has brought some liquor, but the bottle and Western-style glasses sit unused beside his discarded hat and cane as he prepares for a more cardiovascular form of entertainment. In the original version of this image (shown here) by an unidentified artist from the Kikukawa School, the Dutchman’s domesticated monkey can be seen waiting patiently on the distant veranda. On the previous page appears an inscription by the author Ōta Nampo (1749–1823):
A Dutchman arrived from China by boat and dropped by Imamachi [in Nagasaki City]. He had travelled hundreds of miles to see in person the splendid vaginas of the courtesans in Maruyama.
Maruyama was the licensed prostitution district in Nagasaki. Thirty years later, the artist Ikkokai Meshimori reinterpreted this painting to discuss the social climate of Eastern Japan during the late 19th century: the courtesan wears an ostentatious headdress typical of the Yoshiwara district, the fashionably dressed Dutchman has been replaced by a nude, bearded American, and in place of the pet monkey, another American sailor peeks into the parlor with a look of astonishment on his face.
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