Portrait of a Courtesan Walking


Artist: Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (1760 - 1849)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, ca. 1815-1819
Ukiyo-e School
Ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (image): 110.4 x 41.8 cm (43 7/16 x 16 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll

courtesan, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, portrait, ukiyo-e, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Yamanaka and Co.
Sumitomo collection


Dressed in brilliantly decorated, billowing robes, a courtesan struts forward, lifting her skirt to expose her lacquered platform shoe (geta). The energetic, mannered contour lines in this painting are characteristic of Hokusai's work during the decade after 1810, when he used the artistic name "Taito," with which he signed this painting. Hokusai's painting style evolved markedly during his long and productive career; this work is significantly different from "Courtesan" (see F1903.129), which he painted about two decades earlier. In the earlier painting, the kimono flows over the woman's body, emphasizing her elongated form, whereas in this image, voluminous layers of kimono form a striking and dominant pattern of color and line.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura. Hokusai: Volume One. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 15, p. 20.
  • Harold P. Stern. Hokusai: Paintings and Drawings in the Freer Gallery of Art. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 4, 5, p. 16.
  • Ann Yonemura et al. Hokusai: Volume Two. Exh. cat. Washington, 2006. cat. 68, p. 31, 70.
  • Harold P. Stern. Ukiyo-e Painting. Exh. cat. Washington and Baltimore, 1973. cat. 87, pp. 238-239.
  • H. Batterson Boger. The Traditional Arts of Japan: A Complete Illustrated Guide. Garden City, NY. pl. 5.
  • Jack Hillier. Hokusai Drawings. London. .
  • James Randolph. Freer Gallery Houses Fabulous Art. vol. 7, no. 79 Tokyo and Sydney, July 1956. cover, p. 23.
  • Ukiyo-e Shuka. 19 vols., Tokyo, 1978-1985. cat. 113.
  • Ukiyo-e Gallery. multi-volumed, Tokyo. pp. 49, 53.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum