Japanska träsnitt från slutet av 1700-talet har länge fascinerat konsthistoriker och samlare, men sambandet med samtidens moden och modeströmningar har bara fått flyktig uppmärksamhet. I en studie av de moden som kommer till uttryck i de gamla träsnitten ges en levande inblick i kurtisanernas värld, deras klädsel, uttryckssätt och betydelse som modeskapare i det dåtida Japan under Edo-perioden. Spännande paralleller dras till västeuropeiska modeillustrationer, liksom betydelsen av symboler i mönster och klädedräkter. Analysen utgår från verk av två av dåtidens mästare - Isoda Koryusai och Kitagawa Utamaro, som i sina träsnitt skildrade "the Floating World" i området Yoshiwara i dåtidens Tokyo.
Engelsk abstract: Japanese wood block prints has long fascinated art historians and has for long been collected as pieces of art. However, the relationship between prints and fashion is just superficially investigated. The aim of this study is to explore the fashion pictured in Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo-period and connect it to aspects of Japanese culture and influences from society but also to investigate the prints in relation to western fashion plates from the nineteenth century. The study will discuss if or in what manner the Japanese prints might be considered fashion plates. The main material is prints picturing high rank courtesans from the Yoshiwara district published by Isoda Koryusai and Kitagawa Utamaro in the late eighteenth century. By investigating the role of dress and the significance of symbols in dress and patterns, the magnitude of fashion will be mapped out. The study highlights how dress is worn in relation to symbolic meanings, which plays a big role in the prints. By the way the pictured woman is represented in her dress, the observer can distinguish a courtesan from a regular woman and also figure out her age or ranking in society. Symbols can tell the observer what season the picture is depicting, what techniques have been used or show governmental influences on fashion. It became visible that the Japanese prints in many ways can be related to the western fashion plates in the manner the dress constitutes the main focus of the picture. However, some elements of the composition and artistic execution of the prints would not be found in the fashion plates.