Keisai Eisen, 1790-1848
Twelve Views of Modern Beauties: Ryogoku Bridge, Woman of Light-Hearted Appearance
(Imayo Bijin Junikei: Ryogoku-bashi, Ki ga Karuso)
a bust portrait of a geisha tuning a shamisen, her blue kosode is decorated with white flying bats, her grey under-robe with a bamboo pattern, the cartouche in the form of an emakimono illustrating a view of the Ryogoku Bridge, signed Keisai Eisen ga, with artist's red circular seal Sen on the collar, and with publisher's seal Izumi-ichi (Izumiya Ichibei), censor's kiwame seal, ca. 1822-23
oban tate-e 38.5 by 26 cm
The shamisen was an instrument closely associated with the geisha, professional entertainers, who worked along with (but in the same role) as courtesans. It is not clear if this beauty is a geisha or courtesan, as her clothing and hair ornaments are somewhat more elaborate than was considered acceptable for a geisha, whose appearance was expected to be more reserved (and less tempting) than that of a courtesan.
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
July 3, 2020
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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