Yoshitoshi 芳年: Geisha Catching Fireflies (Looking Delighted)

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Artist: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi 芳年 (1839-1892)
Title: “Looking Delighted: The appearance of a present-day geisha of the Meiji Era”. 

Series: Thirty-two Types of Women (Fuzoku sanjû-ni sô)
Date: 1888

A young geisha has just caught a firefly between her hands, captured by Yoshitoshi at the charming moment where she has just gotten what she was after and does not quite know what to do with her prize. The night is a deep black above, a layer of mica adding to its beauty. Three fireflies are shown with their abdomens aglow, creating mini lanterns against the darkness. The beauty is wearing an open-weave silk robe that is so light that it is translucent and we see the shape of her arm beneath the fabric. She holds an uchiwa summer fan between her teeth and her right sleeve and hair strands are caught by the evening breeze. As noted by the incomparable John Stevenson in his description of this design: “The whole adds up to a delightfully fresh sensuality.”  With the three-colored cartouche that indicates an early (”first”) edition.

Condition: Excellent impression and color; very good condition. With mounting remnants verso along the edges of the print

Dimensions: ôban (36.9 x 224 cm)
Publisher: Tsunashima Kamekichi
Literature: See Stevenson “Yoshitoshi’s Women”, plate 31, page 90.
Signature: Yoshitoshi