Selection of Beauties from the Pleasure Quarters: Hanamurasaki of the Tamaya in Procession
(Seiro bisen awase: Dochu no zu, Tamaya Hanamurasaki)
dark grey mica background, signed Eishi giga (drawn for pleasure) with publisher's seal Iwa (Iwatoya Kisaburo of Eirindo), Vever collector's seal 'HV', ca. 1794-95
oban tate-e 14 7/8 by 9 3/4 in., 37.9 by 24.9 cm
Hanamurasaki was a courtesan of the high rank of yobidashi (by arrangement only) at the exclusive Tamaya house (also known as the Kadotamaya). The story of this print revolves around the number three. According to Ledoux (and Hillier), this print is one of three known designs in this scarce series. It is also the first of three known states of this design, and it is apparently one of only three extant prints of this first state. Ledoux lovingly devotes a full five pages of text to this work and another from the same series, with a detailed analysis of the various states of the three designs, coming to the conclusion that the first state of each featured this dramatic dark mica background with a stark dividing line; a second state (which he was not able to locate for this design) that he theorized had light mica on the upper two-third of the print; a third state with light mica all over without a dividing line (as found with his impression); and a fourth state without artist's signature, publisher mark, and sometimes without any mica. Ledoux locates only three impressions of the first state of the print: one published in 1911 in the French edition of Von Seidlitz belonging to Henri Vever (this print); a second published in 1913 in Vignier & Inada from the collection of Mme. Seure; and a third that he knew of in the Buckingham Collection (now in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago) but not published at the time. Without access to an image of the Buckingham impression, Ledoux was unaware that while it is very similar to this print with the dark mica background and dividing line, the printer eliminated the metallic pattern along the hem of Hanamurasaki's over-robe, and as such, it appears there are only two extant impressions, including this one, of the earliest version of this print.
Henri Vever (1854-1942)
W. Von Seidlitz, Les Estampes Les Japonaise, 1911, p. 152, pl. no. 43
Jack Hillier, Japanese Prints and Drawings from the Vever Collection, Volume Two, 1997, p. 520-521, no. 541
Vignier & Inada, Estampes Japonaises: Yeishi, Choki, Hokusai, 1913, p. 31, no. 29, pl. IX (Mme. Seure)
Louis V. Ledoux, Japanese Prints of the Ledoux Collection: Sharaku to Toyokuni, 1950, no. 42 (third state), and no. 43 (for analysis of the series)
Donald Jenkins, The Ledoux Heritage: The Collecting of Ukiyo-e Master Prints, 1973, pp. 130-131, no. 50 (ex Ledoux; William W. Colles Collection)
Ukiyo-e Taikei, volume 6, 1975 (Art Institute of Chicago)
Klaus J. Brandt, Hosoda Eishi 1756-1829, 1977, pl. 4, no. 183
Ukiyo-e Shuka 3, 1978, p. 168, no. 141, (The Art Institute of Chicago)
Art Institute of Chicago, ex Clarence Buckingham Collection, accession no. 1925.3116 (second state without pattern on hem)
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