Japanese Art in the Asia Society Collection

Asia Society

Eishosai Choki (active c. 1786-1808)
Woman Wiping Her Neck
Edo period, 1795-1796
Woodblock print; ink, color, and mica on paper

This print depicts a sensual courtesan seductively wiping her neck as she looks over her bed, suggested by a mosquito net. Fantasizing about her lover, she is awakened in the night to find his clothing on her bed, and wonders whether she has experienced dream or reality. "Big-head pictures" (okubi-e) of courtesans in brothels or teahouses were mass-produced beginning in the seventeenth century in an affordable medium for a large urban population. Among the first images to reach the West, these eroticized portraits provided a potent foundation for Western stereotypes of Japanese women.