A precursor to the decorative tattoo in Edo, irebokuro (vow marks) were enormously popular in the Yoshiwara. They began as simple tattooed dots but escalated to names tattooed onto the inner arm. Handkerchief clenched between her teeth, the courtesan turns away from the shimmering needle hovering above her inner arm. Her loose wisps of hair, handkerchief and disheveled kimono suggest that one moment of passion led to another: the application of a vow mark. The hand wielding the needle likely belongs to the courtesan's lover or client, declaring the couple's love, whether purchased or true, by tattooing his name upon her arm.