Title:"Wakoku"Artist:Masanobu Okumura Date:1701Creation Place:Asia, JapanCredit Line:Bequest of Richard P. GaleAccession Number:74.1.47
This print is a page from a two-volume book illustrating popular courtesans in the city of Edo (present-day Tokyo). The woman's name "Wakoku" is inscribed near the right margin. Her crest, a butterfly within a floral medallion, further confirms her identity.
Highly educated and cultured, ranking courtesans were fashion leaders in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although the dramatic fashions sported by these exotic women were not readily adopted by the general populace, they did have an effect on fashion trends. The bold patterns shown here on Wakoku's kimono and sash reflect the style that came into vogue at the beginning of the 18th century.