Keisai Eisen


Annual Events in the Yoshiwara, Four Seasons in the Pleasure Quarters: Daikagura Performance in the Second Month, Nagao of Owariya
(Yoshiwara yoji, kuruwa no shikishi: Nigatsu, daikagura, Owariya Nagao)

series title within the black square cartouche, Yoshihara yauji (Yoshiwara yoji) kuruwa no shikishi, the print title at the right corner of the overlapping pictorial cartouche, Nigatsu, daikagura, and the courtesan identified to the right, Owariya Nagao, signed Keisai Eisen ga, with censor's seal kiwame (approved), and publisher's mark of Tsutaya Kichizo (Koeido) at lower left, ca. 1823

oban tate-e 15 3/8 by 10 1/4 in., 38.9 by 26.1 cm

A young woman reading a letter beside a paper andon (lantern) rests her chin on the fold of her wrist with her hand tucked protectively into the layers of fabric at her collar. Her apparent distress at the letter's contents is indicated by the disarray of her hair, the clothing unraveling around her, and a noticeably awkward positioning of her feet. In the foreground a packet of Bien Senjoko face powder is positioned for easy identification.

The square cartouche shows a cropped view of a street performance across the top of the shaved heads of an audience framed by stylized yellow bands mimicking the format of an album leaf. Daikagura troupes were associated with the Shinto shrine at Ise, and performed acrobatics including juggling and balancing tricks and shishimai (lion) dances during the New Year. The cylindrical ornament mounted on a pole is of a type the performer would balance on his head while simultaneously playing an instrument or juggling the red balls as seen aloft above their heads.

Chiba City Museum of Art, Keisai Eisen: Artist of the Floating World, 2012, pp. 72, 73, nos. 47-49 (three prints from this series)
Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Hokusai, Daikagura Performers surimono, ca. 1810, accession no. 74.1.323 (for an example of a performer balancing the same type of ornament)
(inv. no. 10-5076)

price: Sold

Keisai Eisen

Hokusai, Daikagura Performers surimono (detail), ca. 1810, MIA


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
October 21, 2020

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