Woman Playing Shamisen (Fox Woman), first half 18th century

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In Japanese folklore, foxes (kitsune) transformed themselves into humans in order to play tricks on unsuspecting people. They commonly take the shape of a beautiful woman and lead lovelorn men astray. The woman in this Ōtsu-e apears to be a prostitute of the licensed entertainment district. Dressed in a beautiful kimono, her skin whitened by cosmetics, she is playing a three-stringed shamisen. Protruding from the hem of her robe, however, is a bushy tail that betrays her true nature.

The inscription is a playful comment on the nature of human deceit. If you are sharp witted, you will detect an insincere woman's artful pretense; if she is more cunning, she will discover your own duplicity.

Woman Playing Shamisen (Fox Woman)
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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