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Under branches laden with cherry blossoms, a courtesan poses in the exaggerated gait of her evening procession. Japanese often refer to cherry blossoms, or sakura, simply as hana (the generic word for “flower”), indicating just how supremely the cherry blossom reigns in Japanese hearts. The combination of courtesan and sakura here might imply that she reigns supreme in terms of feminine beauty.
Draped over her arms, her obi is decorated with fans (ogi) and cherry blossoms (sakura, or hana). This might identify her as Hanaogi of the establishment Ogiya, the most renowned courtesan of the Kansei era (1789–1801).
Alan Strassman, Wellesley, Massachusetts; purchased by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2000.