Keisai Eisen, Reading

Keisai Eisen, 1790-1848


signed Eisen ga, with censor's seal kiwame, and publisher's seal Ueyo (Uemura Yohei)

aiban yoko-e 8 1/2 by 11 1/4 in., 21.5 by 28.7 cm

A young beauty reclines beside a small folding screen. She wears a beautiful dark blue kimono printed with bokashi that gradates through the waist to grey and lightens in the skirt to yellow with a subtle green pine needle pattern at the bottom. The hem is decorated with black bats against a green ground. Her thick black obi is loosened for comfort and her robe falls slightly open between her thighs revealing a suggestive view of layers of her red under-robe. She is propped up on one elbow while holding an ehon (illustrated book) on its edge. The book has a cover with a pattern of grasses and butterflies and the title slip reads Edo no nishiki, jo (Brocades of Edo, first volume). The two fold screen is decorated with an assortment of small prints or paintings, and her lacquer sleeping pillow is tucked behind the divider. There is a tobacco pipe beside her, and a small container, perhaps a koro (incense burner) or an overturned sake cup.

Finely printed with a dusting of mica, the lobed cartouche in the upper right corner has a small pile of shells, indicating that this print is likely from an untitled series. The subtle eroticism and 'product placement' of the illustrated book may even relate to a specific shunga ehon set by Eisen.


Eisen detail

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site last updated
March 2, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475