Kitagawa Utamaro, 1753/54–1806
Courtesan Hanaōgi of the Ōgiya House, 1793–94
Color woodblock print (nishiki-e) with mica background
Bequest of Richard P. Gale 74.1.147
Cat. no. 92

Hanaōgi (literally, “flower fan”) may well be the most frequently depicted woman in ukiyo-e. In fact, Hanaōgi was a pseudonym used by several generations of courtesans from the Ōgiya house, one of the most exclusive brothels in the Yoshiwara. This print represents Hanaōgi IV, the highest-ranked courtesan in the Ōgiya from 1791 through 1797. The oblong cartouche contains a poem comparing the pale beauty of Hanaōgi by moonlight to a delicate moonflower.

Blossoming moonflowers arranged on a flower-fan
and Hanaōgi’s face after moonrise
are so adorable
that people never tire of seeing them and
forget that autumn is coming.