'Courtesans on Promenade at New Year'
Murasaki-e (purple picture)
Bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women), one sheet of a triptych
Signature: Eishi Monjin (disciple of Eishi) Gokyô ga
Museum no. E.1418-1898
This work is a good example of a benigirai-e or 'red-hating picture', which uses no red colourant. It is a particular type of benigirai-e that employs a predominantly purple colour and is known as a murasaki-e (or 'purple picture'). Benigirai-e were characterised by a more muted palette than nishiki-e (brocade prints). They were popular in the late Tenmei era (1781-9).
Unusual among works showing a parading courtesan is the presence of a young man, apparently the courtesan's guest. This bijin-ga follows the style of the artist's master, Eishi, so closely that if it were not for the signature, one might easily mistake it for the master's work. Nothing is known about Gokyô except that he signed all his works 'disciple of Eishi'.
This print can be found in Japanese Print Room Box JP1.