active ca. 1830-1850
Preparatory Drawing for print of 'Flourishing Scenes of the East: Yoshiwara, Onoyama of the Sugata-Ebiya'
(Zensei Azuma fukei: Yoshiwara, Sugata-Ebiya uchi Onoyama)
sumi ink drawing on paper, unsigned, the landscape cartouche titled Yoshiwara, with notations regarding colors, 1830's
conserved on achival paper 15 3/4 by 11 in., 40.1 by 27.8 cm
This preparatory drawing relates to a print depicting the courtesan Onoyama of the Sugata-Ebiya with an inset cartouche of the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters from Sencho's series, Flourishing Scenes of the East (Zensei Azuma fukei) published by Tsutaya Kichizo of Koeido in the 1830s. It appears to be the near-final version with very detailed instructions for the carver and printer on how the coloration should be addressed. These details would not be given if the design were not yet approved for production. While the absolute final version of the design, the hanshita, would be destroyed in the normal process of carving the keyblock, drawings of this type would have been helpful to keep on hand during the production process, particularly for the printer, to ensure that the artist's intentions were followed.
The publisher of the series, Tsutaya Kichizo, produced at least eight other bijin series with Sencho's teacher, Keisai Eisen (1790-1848), including the large series A Tokaido Board Game of Courtesans: Fifty-Three Pairings in the Yoshiwara (Keisei dochu sugoroku--Mitate Yoshiwara gojusan tsui) published in ca. 1821-23 which appears to have been a significant source of inspiration for Senchu's designs for this series.
Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections (Hizo Ukiyo-e Taiken), vol. IV, Victoria and Albert Museum I, 1989, fig. 116
Asian Arts Forums (asianart.com), May-June 2007
(inv. no. 10-2701)
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