Courtesans of the Three Capitals
- Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)
- Artist: Tsukioka Settei 月岡雪鼎 (1710-1786)
- Historical period(s)
- Edo period, 1777
- Ink and color on silk
- H x W: 105.7 x 43.5 cm (41 5/8 x 17 1/8 in)
- Credit Line
- Gift of Charles Lang Freer
- Freer Gallery of Art
- Accession Number
- Kyoto, Osaka, and Edo were the three major cities of Edo-period (1615-1868) Japan. Each city had a distinct culture. Kyoto, the imperial capital, remained the center of traditional court culture and of fine craft production. Nearby Osaka became a thriving commercial center with its own cultural circles of artists, poets, and performers. Edo, a new metropolis and center of the shogun's government, rapidly developed distinct customs and artistic and literary forms. This painting portrays courtesans who represent each of the three cities: from left to right, Osaka, Edo, and Kyoto. The inscription at the top of the painting laments the sad fate of the women who have left their families to work in the pleasure quarters.
Edward S. Hull Jr., New York to 1898 
From 1898 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Edward S. Hull Jr. in 1898 
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 
 See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 197, as well as Voucher No. 38, November 1898, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Edward S. Hull Jr. was Ernest Francisco Fenollosa’s (1853-1908) lawyer. Hull often acted as an agent, facilitating purchases of objects consigned to him by Fenollosa, as well as purchases of objects consigned to him by Fenollosa's well-known associate, Bunshichi Kobayashi (see correspondence, Hull to Freer, 1898-1900, as well as invoices from E.S. Hull Jr., 1898-1900, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives). See also, Ingrid Larsen, "'Don’t Send Ming or Later Pictures': Charles Lang Freer and the First Major Collection of Chinese Painting in an American Museum," Ars Orientalis vol. 40 (2011), pgs. 15 and 34. See further, Thomas Lawton and Linda Merrill, Freer: A Legacy of Art, (Washington, D.C. and New York: Freer Gallery of Art and H. N. Abrams, 1993), pgs. 133-134.
 See note 1.
 The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.
- Former owner
- Edward S. Hull Jr. (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
- On View Location
- Currently not on view
- Collection(s) Area
- Japanese Art
- Web Resource(s)
- Google Cultural Institute
- Rights Statement
- Copyright with museum