In 1896 the series of triptychs entitled Hana Moyō (Patterns for Flowers), by Kobayashi Kiyochika (1847-1915), was published. Each design featured a beautiful woman from a specific historical period set against a distant background scene. In 1910, elements of the designs from this series were adapted for use in a woodblock printed calendar that was published to advertise the Kawamata Silk Refining Company of Yokohama. Specifically, it was published to advertise the Deer and Stag brand, which was the most highly praised of the Kawamata firm's fabrics. I recently received the design for December as a Christmas present, and here it is:
The text at the bottom of the print tells us that Deer and Stag pure silk 'surpasses all others in its refining method, shows excellent lustre when dyed or printed,' and 'suffers no change, no matter how long it may be kept'. The firm, established by Kutsuna Korejiro in 1899, was highly thought of; following the Anglo-Japanese exhibition held in London in 1910, both English and French silk dealers were eager to buy it, but Kutsuna refused to sell.
The design from Hana Moyō which was adapted to form the subject for December in the Kawamata calendar was the triptych depicting a courtesan from The Tenpō Era (1830-1844), which can be seen below.
The courtesan is shown before a background scene of men making their way along Naka-no-chō, the famous central boulevard of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter. The courtesan's face and butterfly hairstyle, including that plethora of heavy pins, are the same in both the original triptych and the calendar sheet, but, as you can see, her outer robe and sash were adapted to fit the vertical format of the calendar print.