active ca. 1830-1850
Preparatory Drawing for print of 'Flourishing Scenes of the East: Susaki, Sugatano of the Sugata-Ebiya'
(Zensei Azuma fukei: Sugata-Ebiya uchi Sugatano)
sumi ink drawing on paper, unsigned, the landscape cartouche titled Susaki, 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 Sugatano of the Sugata-Ebiya holding a shakuhachi flute with an inset cartouche showing a view of the Susaki Plain 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 this 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.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 11.37481
(inv. no. 10-2700)
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