Asian Studies Lecture
“Reflections in a Yoshiwara Mirror: Representing the 'Beauties of the Azure Towers' in Print,” Professor Julie Nelson Davis, Professor of the History of Art (Modern East Asian), University of Pennsylvania.
In 1776 publishers Tsutaya Jūzaburō and Yamazaki Kinbei issued The
Mirror of Yoshiwara Beauties, Compared. Featuring sumptuous
illustrations by two leading painters, Kitao Shigemasa and Katsukawa Shunshō,
this album exploited full-color multiple block printing to represent the
glamorous “beauties” of the licensed pleasure district, the Yoshiwara.
This presentation will explore issues of collaboration between the publishers
and painters as well as their larger social and economic network. By
reading the album against guidebooks to the district, this talk further
addresses how images and text operated to promote the fantasies of the quarter
for its audiences.