This drawing, with a Japanese title, La Mousme, was inspired by Pierre Loti's novel Madame Chrysanthème and Japanese artwork. Van Gogh depicted the well dressed young girl at age of twelve to fourteen years old.
In February 1888, Van Gogh moved to Arles, he called it "the Japan of the south". He reached his new peak while staying there and produced some of his best work. At the same time this is likely one of Van Gogh's happier periods of life. He is confident, clear-minded and seemingly content. He wrote to his brother Theo, "the only thing in painting that excites me to the depths of my soul, and which makes me feel the infinite more than anything else."