edo period art

Live for the moment, look at the moon, the cherry-blossom and maple leaves, love wine, women and poetry, encounter with humour the poverty that stares at you in the face and don’t be discouraged by it, let yourself be carried along on the river of life like a calabash that drifts downstream, that is what Ukiyo means.
—  Asai Ryoi - “Story of the Floating World”

“The daughter of Tamaru Inuemon, Matsuko” (1880), Tsukioka Yoshitoshi  (1839-1892)

Print from the series “Eastern pictures of heroic women compared”.

The komusō (literally “priest of nothingness” or “monk of emptiness”) were a group of Zen Buddhist mendicant monks who wandered the roads of Edo period Japan. They would play elaborate tunes on their bamboo flutes as they begged for alms, their faces (and thus, their ego) completely concealed by a distinctive hood woven from straws or reeds. Unsurprisingly, many were recruited as spies or were actually ninja or ronin in disguise, and eventually their temples and their schools were abolished for meddling in material affairs instead of spiritual ones.