Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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The courtesan Madoka of the Tamaya Brothel with two attendants

Glossary (2)

nishiki-e, vegetable pigments

  • nishiki-e

    Nishiki-e literally means 'brocade pictures' and refers to multi-coloured woodblock prints.

  • vegetable pigments

    Vegetable pigments were used to create coloured dyes for Japanese prints, paintings, and textiles. These pigments often faded over time due to the chemical reactions they underwent.


    • currently in research collection

Objects are sometimes moved to a different location. Our object location data is usually updated on a monthly basis. Contact the Jameel Study Centre if you are planning to visit the museum to see a particular object on display, or would like to arrange an appointment to see an object in our reserve collections.


Publications online

  • Beauties of the Four Seasons by Mitsuko Watanabe

    Beauties of the Four Seasons

    The Series is thought to contain only two prints and this print is one of the last works by Utamaro. The other is The Courtesan Shi-ratama of the Tamaya-nai.

    Madoka, an oiran, stands in the centre looking to her left, with a shinzō (lower rank) on her right. The kamuro on her left are in pink and purple kimono. The outer garment of Madoka bears a representation of ryūsui-kakitsubata (design of the river flowing between clumps of iris) and her obi has a beautiful design, circular, in black and gold with more regular circles of the same colours below. The shinzō’s garment has the kanze-mizu. (water-ripple design) pattern. Madoka’s kimono seems to be for the cold season, possibly late autumn or winter, with cotton padding placed between each layer of fabric.

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