View right to left
: Women Airing Books and Clothes

one of pair: 2853

Women Airing Books and Clothes

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)
Artist: Katsukawa Shunshō 勝川春章 (1726-1792)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, Late 18th century
Hanging scroll mounted on panel; ink, color, and gold on silk
H x W (panel): 193.8 x 105.5 cm (76 5/16 x 41 9/16 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
The annual airing of books and clothing to prevent mildew and insects takes place each year in summer. Four women and a young boy lay out paper-covered books removed from protective cabinets. The books are hung over a line to air while one woman becomes distracted from the task by what she finds in an open book. The cuckoo flying overhead is often associated with images of courtesans or with poetry expressing love and longing.

To 1905
Yamanaka & Company, to 1905 [1]

From 1905 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Yamanaka & Company in 1905 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] Undated folder sheet note. See Original Panel List, L. 52, pg. 18, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. The majority of Charles Lang Freer’s purchases from Yamanaka & Company were made at its New York branch. Yamanaka & Company maintained branch offices, at various times, in Boston, Chicago, London, Peking, Shanghai, Osaka, Nara, and Kyoto. During the summer, the company also maintained seasonal locations in Newport, Bar Harbor, and Atlantic City.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
Yamanaka and Co. (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
On View Location
Currently not on view
child, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kakemono, ukiyo-e, woman
Collection(s) Area
Japanese Art

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

As renovation work continues in the Freer Gallery, the Sackler Gallery also will close on July 10, 2017. This museum-wide closure will allow us to completely reinstall our exhibitions and revitalize features to improve your visit. Both spaces will reopen on October 14, 2017, when we will welcome the public back to the Freer|Sackler: two galleries, one destination. For your safety, all visitors will have their bags checked. See the complete list of restricted items and bag sizes.