An image of Cooling off at Shijō


(Japan 1839 – 1892)

Cooling off at Shijō, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon

Not on display
Further information

Shijō refers to an entertainment district in Kyoto that is situated along the Kamo River. It was fashionable on a hot summer evening around the time of the full moon to come and sit by the river to cool off. This waitress is depicted relaxing at the end of a day. She wears a robe which shows glimpses of her red undergarment, which was seen as rather risque to reveal at the time. The lamp next to her portrays the crest of her teahouse and her summer robe has the pattern of 'chidori' (sea plovers) which was the crest of the Pontochō geisha.

Yoshitoshi’s career straddled two eras – the last years of the Edo period and the first few decades of modern Japan following the Meiji Restoration in 1867. Initially enthusiastic and opened to Western influxes, he became increasingly sceptical about the loss of numerous aspects of traditional Japanese art and culture due to rapid industrialisation and Westernisation. In a time when modern reproductive technologies such as photography and lithography were introduced to Japan and enjoyed high popularity, Yoshitoshi concentrated his efforts in introducing new themes and techniques to the stagnant art of ukiyo-e colour woodblock prints, taking it thus to a new height, before it definitely declined after his death. His highly imaginative, often flamboyant and even disturbing depictions of historical events, warriors, beautiful women and the supernatural has led him to be recognised as the last great master of traditional Japanese woodblock print.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, August 2012.

Place of origin
Japan: Meiji period 1868–1912
Dec 1885
colour woodblock; ôban
39.0 x 26.0 cm
Signature & date

Signed and dated.

Yasuko Myer Bequest Fund 2012
Accession number