Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter

"Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter (Hokkoku Goshiki-zumi)" is a series by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753?-1806), published at the height of his career around 1793-1795 by the publisher Iseya. It is regarded as one of Utamaro's representative works. "Hokkoku (north country)" refers to Shin-Yoshiwara, a famous red-light district in the northern suburbs of Edo. It is a series of five okubi-e (portraits showing only the head or the head and upper torso) of five women in Shin-Yoshiwara against a solid yellow background.

The phrase "Goshiki-zumi" in the title means "five shades of ink," and the series title is written on a different color inkstick for each portrait. It is a unique series depicting the mannerisms and customs of women working in Shin-Yoshiwara, from the oiran, the highest-ranking courtesan, to the lowest-ranking prostitute. It captures the differences not only the mannerisms but also the atmosphere and expressions of the women, demonstrating Utamaro's keen powers of observation and description.

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Teppo

Kitagawa Utamaro Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter

Teppo

20,000yen~ (Excluding Tax)

Oiran(courtesan)

Kitagawa Utamaro Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter

Oiran(courtesan)

20,000yen~ (Excluding Tax)

Kiri no Musume

Kitagawa Utamaro Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter

Kiri no Musume

20,000yen~ (Excluding Tax)

A set of "Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter"

Kitagawa Utamaro Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter

A set of "Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter"

62,500yen (Excluding Tax)

Kashi

Kitagawa Utamaro Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter

Kashi

20,000yen~ (Excluding Tax)

Geisha

Kitagawa Utamaro Five Shades of Ink in the Licensed Quarter

Geisha

13,000yen~ (Excluding Tax)