Keisai Eisen, 1790-1848
Preparatory Drawing for print 'Beauties of Five Islands: Chikubu Island'
(Tosei goban shima: Chikubushima)
sumi ink on paper, unsigned, with notations regarding colors, ca. late 1820s
conserved on achival paper 15 3/4 by 11 in., 40.1 by 27.8 cm
Although we have yet to locate and image of the corresponding print for this preparatory drawing, based on the distinctive inset landscape cartouche illustrating an island, it surely relates directly to the Chikubu Island (Chikubushima) print form Eisen's series Beauties of Five Islands (Tosei goban shima) published in the late 1820s by Kawaguchiya Shozo and listed in the 2012 Chiba City Eisen catalogue raisonné. The drawing presents a woman tying a long obi while standing beside a small tsuitate screen decorated with autumnal flowers and signed illegibly as though to indicate future location of the artist's proper signature. Interestingly, Eisen seems to have referred back to this figure tying her obi in another print published by Igaya Kan'emon of Bunkido in the 1830s from the series The Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Piety in the Floating World (Ukiyo nijushi ko). The later print illustrates a woman tying her obi in nearly the same position and wearing a kimono with the same pattern beside a child playing with goldfish in a water basin (a reference to the story of Wang Xiang whose stepson went to a frozen lake in the winter to catch carp for his stepmother).
Keisai Eisen: Artist of the Floating World, Chiba City Museum of Art, 2012, p. 285, no. 124-5 (listing the Chikubu Island print)
Tokyo Metro Library, accession nos. K555-002-001; K555-002-002; K555-002-003; K555-002-004 (Eisen, Tosei goban shima, late 1820s)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 11.17908 (Eisen, Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety in the Floating World: Wang Xiang, ca. 1830s)
(inv. no. 10-2695)
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