Shadows on the Shoji: Beauty Holding a Letter
signed Keisai Eisen ga, with censor's seal kiwame (approved), and publisher's mark, Sa (Otaya Sakichi of Kinrindo), ca. 1818
aiban tate-e (untrimmed) 14 1/8 by 9 5/8 in., 36 by 24.4 cm
An image of a beauty wearing a green and white plaid kimono tastefully matched with a purple and white striped obi decorated with gold flowers on one side and pure and black on the other. The bottom edge of the obi with two seals: the right character on the red seal appears to be 'fuku' (good fortune), and the top character on a gourd-shaped seal appears to be 'tera' (temple). A poem is inscribed in the empty space around her. She looks at a letter in her hand, holding it close to her chest, contemplating the inscription on the outside and pausing as if she is conflicted about the contents or its delivery.
In the background, beyond a stylized cloud we see shadows of figures through shoji panels of what looks like a lively gathering. This print is from an untitled series (seven recorded) featuring single figures of bijin in the foreground with poems and 'shadows on the shoji' in the background.
Chiba City Museum of Art, Keisai Eisen: Artist of the Floating World, 2012, p. 284, cat. no. 100-1
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 preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.
site last updated
October 21, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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