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Hanging scroll
Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760 - 1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1796-1798
Ink and color on paper
H x W: 152.5 x 35.1 cm (60 1/16 x 13 13/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
The woman portrayed in this early painting by Hokusai holds the edge of her garment in her mouth, a gesture that signifies passion, perhaps inspired by the love letter she clutches in her right hand. Her sinuous pose, curved like a reversed "S", is highly stylized and closely resembles the pose portrayed in The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, painted by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) and exhibited in the Freer gallery's Peacock Room. Whistler's work reflects many ideas from his observation of Japanese art. Both Whistler's Princess and this painting by Hokusai were purchased in 1903 by Charles Lang Freer, who is likely to have recognized the similar pose in the Japanese work.Hokusai, a prolific painter and designer of woodblock prints and printed books, enjoyed extraordinary popularity in Japan during his later years. His work became well-known to European and American collectors and artists during the second half of the nineteenth century.

To 1903
Bunshichi Kobayashi (circa 1861-1923), Boston, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Yokohama, to 1903 [1]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Bunshichi Kobayashi in 1903 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono List, L. 341, pg. 84, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] 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
Bunshichi Kobayashi 小林文七 (C.L. Freer source) (circa 1861 - 1923)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Currently not on view
courtesan, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, ukiyo-e
Collection(s) Area
Japanese Art
Web Resource(s)
Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

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