Keisai Eisen


Famous Views of Edo and Beauties Compared: Sumida River
(Edo meisho bijin awase: Sumidagawa)

signed Keisai Eisen ga, with censor's seal kiwame (approved), and publisher's seal Sanoki (Sanoya Kihei of Kikakudo), ca 1830s

oban tate-e 14 1/8 by 9 3/8 in., 35.8 by 23.7 cm

A young waitress wearing a brown and white plaid misuji-koushi (lit. 'three striped checkered') pattern kosode stands with her body facing away and looking over her shoulder while reaching behind her back to tie her striking double-sided obi, with black on one side contrasting with an indigo pattern of stylized turtles on the other. The edge of the sash is marked with archaic form kanji: Imayo bi-? (modern-?) in red, and with the artist's seal Sen in yellow. Two trays are at her feet, one with a teapot, four porcelain teacups and a bowl of snacks, the other with a bundle covered with blue cloth decorated with various actor's crests. The inset cartouche illustrates buildings and boats along the Sumida River edged by stylized clouds.

The combination of restrained patterns and subtle colors of her clothing reflect the influential tastes of the geisha and waitresses who worked in the fashionable entertainment district of Fukagawa, with the recreational area along the Sumida River nearby. An earlier bust portrait from ca. 1822-23 by Eisen from the series Twelve Views of Modern Beauties (Imayo bijin junikei), illustrates a playful geisha who he also associates with the Sumida River, The Amused Type (Omoshiroso, Sumidagawa), wearing a similar plaid kosode.

Chiba City Museum of Art, Keisai Eisen: Artist of the Floating World, 2012, p. 285, cat. no. 148-7

(inv. no. 10-4568)

price: $1,800

Keisai Eisen

Eisen, Sumidagawa, The Amused Type, ca. 1822-23

Keisai Eisen



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site last updated
October 3, 2022

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