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

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

Browse: 1 object

Reference URL


Send e-mail

Contact us about this object

Send e-mail

Send to a friend

Seated courtesan being shown an ukiyo-e print

Glossary (3)

nishiki-e, ukiyo-e, vegetable pigments

  • nishiki-e

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

  • ukiyo-e

    Ukiyo-e, or ‘Pictures of the Floating World’, depicted leading courtesans, kabuki actors, and others from the urban pleasure districts, in popular woodblock prints and paintings.

  • 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

    A young woman wearing a yukata shows a seated courtesan an ukiyo-e portrait of an oiran and a kamuro. The seated oiran holding a fan is wearing a tsuzumi namigashira (small drum with waves) patterned kimono over many layers to keep her warm and a mamu-usagi (a rabbit facing forward) and seigaiha (wave) patterned obi. The combination of rabbits and waves sometimes symbolized jū-go-ya (full moon) where the rabbit, represented the shape of the reflection of the moon in the water. This suggests the middle of autumn for the moon celebration. Possibly the portrait of the oiran is that of herself.

© 2013 University of Oxford - Ashmolean Museum