Customs of the Boss Lady, Continued Signature & seal of the artist, Orr Marshall, written in Chinese form Ma Hsia, based on the names of two painters of the Sung Dynasty, Ma Yuan and Hsia Kuei, active 1190-1225. Some ukiyo-e prints list the name and address of the publisher and printseller. The right-hand column here gives the location, Sherman Oaks, California. The left-hand column says Gyararī Ō-Ran-Dō (ギャラリー黄蘭堂), approximating the name “Orlando Gallery” in Japanese sounds. The three characters Ō-Ran-Dō actually mean “Hall of Yellow Orchids”: hence the flowers in front. Two traditional motifs – morning glories and a triangle arrangement called “fish-scale pattern” in Japanese – are combined in the kimono. Red undergarments were popularly worn by women in the 19th century. Full-body tattooing, in actuality practiced only by men, was common especially among yakuza (gangsters) and earlier also among firemen and other rough characters. Such tattoos were banned by the Japanese government in 1997 because of increased yakuza violence. Here the woman’s tattoos include typical motifs such as the dragon and stylized spiral clouds. Wrapped around her arm is a ghost with an extendable neck, rokurokubi. Two figures next to the dragon display Noh drama masks of female demons, Hannya and Namanari. The bamboo pattern on the vase and the pines and plum blossoms seen through open shōji, taken together as shōchikubai (pine, bamboo, plum), are symbols of good fortune. Written beside the woman’s head is her name, Anego Kakezara (姉御かけ皿). The term of respect Anego was addressed to the wife of a gambling boss, or to a person who was herself a gambler. Her nickname Kakezara means “chipped dish.” She is combing her hair dry, having just washed it in the wooden tub, with a mirror on a stand behind and a comb, brush and hair ornaments in the dish at her feet. Her sword and outer garment are hung over the standing screen. The cloak is decorated with fragments of calligraphy from Onna Imagawa (女今川), an old book of precepts for women’s behavior. Zoku Anego No Fūzoku (続姉御之風俗)

Zoku: “continued,” because in this picture, Marshall has imagined a further scene in the life of the character Anego Kakezara.

Anego: translated as “boss lady.” (see this note)

Fūzoku: “customs,” i.e. genre or scenes from everyday life, which were often depicted in ukiyo-e (traditional Japanese woodblock prints produced until the late 19th century).
Kabuki Triptych woodblock print
The man in the fan-shaped vignette appears in a print by the 19th-century artist Toyohara Kunichika (豊原国周). The full print, which shows him dueling with a woman called Anego Kakezara (姉御かけ皿) on the roof of a house drifting in a flood, inspired Marshall to paint this portrait of her in ukiyo-e style…with a few departures from historical accuracy.
Customs of the Boss Lady, Continued (続姉御之風俗), 1996
acrylic on canvas, 48″ × 36″
mouse over image and click for detail
see related studies