In this skillful group composition of a courtesan and a favored patron, Buncho proves his genius as an artist. The delicate drawing of the hands indicates a lingering Harunobu influence. But the figures are generously proportioned, and the exotic facial expressions reveal something of Buncho’s eccentric personality.
The color harmonies also differ from Harunobu’s, striving for serenity with neutral shades. Unfortunately, the vertical and diagonal lines of the woodwork behind the courtesan’s face detract from its special beauty. Six designs are known to remain from this series, including “Takamura of the Komatsu-ya,” “Tamagiku of the Naka Manji-ya” and “Ureshino of the Ogi-ya.”
Contemporary billings of these courtesans in the Yoshiwara Saiken (A Guide to the Yoshiwara) indicate the print’s date of issue may range from about 1768 to no later than 1776. The poem in the cloud forms at the top of the print is from Hyakunin Isshu (Selected Poems from a Hundred Poets) and reads:
Even the meeting
I do grieve
Of the world and my fate.