Courtesan playing with a cat

Kaigetsudō Dohanapprox. 1705-1715

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum
San Francisco, United States

A courtesan playfully dangles a tie-dyed hand towel, teasing the cat at her feet. This charming scene contains a sophisticated bit of product placement: the box on which she sits is labeled with the name of a confectionary shop, Masaruya, and its address in Asakusa Komagata-chō. Half-hidden behind her legs is the image of a Japanese macaque, the monkey (masaru) that is the shop’s emblem. Most of Dohan’s prints are of standing courtesans, their forms defined by sweeping curves, calligraphic outlines, and bold patterns. Here, not only is the composition more complex but the three-dimensional rendering of the box lends the figure, balanced at its edge, an unusual degree of solidity. The costume too is especially gorgeous, patterned as it is with a swirling design of flowering myoga ginger and arabesques.


  • Title: Courtesan playing with a cat
  • Creator: Bunkido (Japanese) (Publisher),Igaya Kan'emon (Japanese) (Publisher),Kaigetsudo Dohan (Japanese, active approx. 1704 - 1716) (Artist)
  • Date Created: approx. 1705-1715
  • Physical Dimensions: H. 22 in x W. 12 1/4 in, H. 55.9 cm x W. 31.1 cm (o-oban)
  • Rights: Public Domain
  • Medium: Ink on paper
  • Credit Line: Asian Art Museum, Gift of the Grabhorn Ukiyo-e Collection, 2005.100.6

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