Twelve Hours of the Green Houses, Kitagawa Utamaro – Part III/IV

In this Seventh Day of the Month of Grass that Grows Dense
Edo time: the Hour of the Sheep
Tokyo time: 20:00hrs
Brussels time, noon

We follow a day in a courtesan’s life, somewhere in Yoshiwara..

{The Hour of the Dog – Inu no koku – hour of the dog – 8 pm – 10 pm}

It is the Hour of the Dog, around 8 o’clock in the evening. In the salon in the front part of the house, a courtesan is writing a letter to one of her customers and whispers something in the ear of the young assistant who waits attentively by her side.

11a

{The Hour of the Boar – I no koku – 10pm – midnight}

It is the Hour of the Boar, around ten o’clock in the evening. This scene takes place in a banquet room of the house. The courtesan, very dignified, holds out ceremoniously a cup of sake to a customer. In striking contrast with her young assistant who, leaning on the sake carafe, can no longer resist the fatigue at this late hour and falls asleep.

12a

{The Hour of the Rat – Ne no koku – midnight – 02 am}

The hour of the Rat corresponds roughly to midnight. This is the moment that the courtesan puts on her night attire to join her client in bed, while her apprentice carefully folds the dress she wore earlier to attend the banquet.

1a

Twelve Hours of the Green Houses (1794–1795) is a day and a night in the private life of the courtesans of Yoshiwara — the pleasure district of the capital Edo, present day Tōkyō. To begin the cycle, start with Twelve Hours of the Green Houses, Kitagawa Utamaro – Part I and Part II.

Scanned from an edition containing 55 print reproductions, details and annotations about Utamaro’s work, published by the Royal Museums of Art and History, Brussels in 2012.

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3 thoughts on “Twelve Hours of the Green Houses, Kitagawa Utamaro – Part III/IV

  1. Pingback: Twelve Hours of the Green Houses, Kitagawa Utamaro – Part IV/IV « Lia in Brussels

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