Famous Fukagawa Geisha in Art

Famous Fukagawa Geisha in Art

“Snow at Fukagawa”, is one of three famous paintings by Kitagawa Utamoro who Utamaro was a master of Ukiyo-e painting, a genre that depicts the pleasures of the early Edo period’s (1603-1868). This one particularly shows the scene which geisha from Fukagawa red-light district in Edo with women who prepare food enjoying the snow together.

We can see from the painting, Utamoro clearly displays the actions of each person lively.  One woman carries succulent fish on a laden, red earthenware tray. Another plays with a cat and child at her feet, another plays a shamisen—the three-stringed Japanese instrument. Nearby, a woman applies makeup while looking in a hand mirror as, off-to-the side, another totes a pile of laundry quietly offstage.

“Cherry Blossoms at Yoshiwara,” by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806) Japan, Edo period, ca. 1793.
“Moon at Shinagawa” (also known as “Moonlight Revelry at Dozō Sagami”) Kitagawa Utamaro (1753–1806) Japan, Edo period, ca. 1788.

During the Edo period(1603-1868), a woman’s hairstyle, makeup and clothing show her social status.In this painting, Utamoro captures many of the fashion trends of that period. It’s really easy to see the difference between two women in the picture. The woman on the left hand side who is in the forefront holding a child, has a teeth black. Dyeing one’s teeth black is a kind of Japan traditional culture. It is popular particular in women because of the beauty of the contrast between blackened teeth and a white face. And we can know that this woman is married because of her black teeth. These details make this painting becoming a masterpiece.


Weird beauty trends of Edo Japan

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