Yoshitoshi, Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners 14 - Suitable Type

Taiso Yoshitoshi (1839-1892) Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners #14: Suitable  Type (Fuzoku sanjuniso: Niaiso; Koka nenkan kuruwa no geisha fuzoku) 1888. Oban.

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Thirty-two Aspects of Customs and Manners is one of his most highly valued series, more so perhaps than the One Hundred Aspects of the Moon. This print, Looking Suitable, shows a brothel geisha of the Koka era (1844 - 1848). She is standing, wearing an expensive peacock feather robe belonging to a man whilst fanning herself beneath a moon that is partially covered in cloud. It is autumn and she is about to take part in the Niwaka festival, perhaps the most colorful of the many festivals held during the course of the year in the Yoshiwara (red light area). It featured special dances performed by courtesans and geisha dressed in men's and women's costumes.. As was the custom for the event, she has dressed in the clothes of a man and has fashioned her hair into a man’s style. The title - Looking Suitable - refers to her looking suitably male. The fan that she is carrying reads ‘niwaka’ pointing to the festival she is about to attend.

This is a very beautiful image from a fine series. The print is from an early edition, having the delicate bokashi (shaded) cloud across the moon - missing from later impressions of the design - and the three colour cartouche at the upper right. Impression and colour are fine, the condition is very fine except for trimming to the margins. A re-carved edition was printed around 1912 which lacks the yellow cartouches which contain publisher and printing details.

Signed Yoshitoshi with taiso seal. Published by Tsunashima Kamekichi.

The print appears in Stephenson, Yoshitoshi’s Women and Beauty and Violence by Eric van den Ing and Robert Schaap.