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a bust portrait of a geisha tuning a shamisen, her blue kosode is decorated with white flying bats, her grey under-robe with a bamboo pattern, the cartouche in the form of an emakimono illustrating a view of the Ryogoku Bridge, signed Keisai Eisen ga, with artist’s red circular seal Sen on the collar, and with publisher’s seal Izumi-ichi (Izumiya Ichibei), censor’s kiwame seal, ca. 1822-23
oban tate-e 38.5 by 26 cm
The shamisen was an instrument closely associated with the geisha, professional entertainers, who worked along with (but in the same role) as courtesans. It is not clear if this beauty is a geisha or courtesan, as her clothing and hair ornaments are somewhat more elaborate than was considered acceptable for a geisha, whose appearance was expected to be more reserved (and less tempting) than that of a courtesan.