1861. Three part coloured woodblock (each part with printed artist's name stamp), together ca. 37 x 76.5 cm (15 x 30 in). This woodblock print is in very good condition.
The print shows Caucasian and Chinese men enjoying food, sake and the company of Japanese geishas in the Gankiro brothel, also known as the house of fans, in the Miyozaki pleasure quarter of Yokohama.
"Miyozaki Yukaku," Miyozaki's red-light district opened in November 1859 after a request by the Dutch ambassador to build brothels for the many single foreign men in Yokohama. There were 15 brothels in Miyozaki, and of these, Gankiro was the largest and most famous. Gankiro was divided into two sections, one for foreigners and one for Japanese customers and Japanese customers weren't allowed into the foreigner section and vice-versa.
In his 1860 world tour journal, Richard Henry Dana jr., author of "Two Years Before the Mast" gave a contemporary description of Gankiro which to him "looked like a temple, it is so large and handsome, Within are parlors, reception rooms, dining rooms, a dancing hall, a theater etc, etc. The chief rooms were beautifully carved and elaborately painted. The chief artists of Yeddo contributed each a panel, for the walls and ceiling. Lacquered furniture and screens abound, and great neatness everywhere"(Guth, Longfellow's Tattoos p. 17).
This print is one of the most famous works of Yoshikazu, who was a student of Kuniyoshi. Kuniyoshi had his own branch of the Utagawa school and was one of the last great masters of the Japanese ukiyo-e style of woodblock prints. Yonemura, Yokohama Prints, p. 148; sdmart.org.
Price: $1,500.00 USD