The Courtesan Hinatsuru of the Chōji-ya


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    Ichirakutei Eisui, who was a pupil of Chōbunsai Eishi, produced a huge number of portraits of beauties, far more than the other pupils of Eishi, and he was influenced by Utamaro.

    This print is a portrait of the courtesan Hinatsuru of the Chōji-ya who is about to write on a scroll which she holds in her left hand. Writing letters to customers was an important part of the duties of the courtesans. Hinatsuru was well-versed in the arts such as poetry, tea ceremony and music and was particularly popular in her time. Customers who wished to see her needed to make an appointment half a year in advance. Her hair-style is particularly impressive and shows many kanzashi (ornamental hairpins) and a hair clip. The colour of her kimono is beautifully embroidered with cherry blossoms.

    Part of her kimono has been re-touched by hand.

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