Item from the Mokuhankan Flea Market

Hour of the Cock (6pm)

Size: 40.0cm by 26.5cm (15.75 in by 10.43 in) | Enlargement | Shipping Code: [L] ?

Designer: Kitagawa Utamaro

Era: Post-war | Currency: $ / £ /

Price: ¥ 8,000$ 73.00£ 53.00€ 61.00 [Item has been sold]

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Description: This print, titled "The Hour of the Cockerel (Tori no koku)", is from the series "The Twelve Hours in the Yoshiwara" (Seirô jûni toki tsuzuki) by Utamaro.

"Ever keen to show supposedly 'private' moments in the lives of his female subjects, Utamaro's project with this series was to show a typical day and night in the life of a high-ranked courtesan of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter. The series title is written between the hanging weights of a stylised lantern clock and the zodiacal name of the time of day (or night), at roughly two-hour intervals, is written on the bell" (quoted from the British Museum website).

"The Hour of the Cock is about 6 pm, the time when the evening session in the brothels began. It seems that the courtesan has been called out... and she is being guided by a young female employee of the teahouse, who is assembling a large folding lantern that bears the crest of the Ogiya ('Fan House') brothel" (ibid.).

The patterns of the courtesan's kimono catch the eye and are highlighted through the simplicity of the assistant's dress.

The flecks of metallic pigment used in the print have oxidised a little.

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