Keisai Eisen


A Tokaido Board Game of Courtesans, Yoshiwara Parody of the Fifty-three Pairings: Ishibe, Miyoshino of the Tsuruya
(Keisei dochu sugoroku, mitate yoshiwara gojusan tsu: Ishibe, Tsuruya nai Miyoshino)

signed Keisai Eisen ga, the series title within the black cartouche, Keisei dochu sugoroku, and to left, Mitate yoshiwara gojusan tsu, with the courtesan identified, Tsuruya nai Miyoshino, the inset landscape titled Ishibe within the frame, with censor's seal kiwame (approved), and publisher's mark of Tsutaya Kichizo (Koeido), ca. 1821-23

oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 10 in., 37 by 25.3 cm

The courtesan Miyoshino of the famous Tsuruya house in Yoshiwara sits with her head tilted down and her chin resting in her left hand supporting her head, perhaps additionally burdened by the array of ornaments in her hair, while reading an open book resting on her lap. Her layers of kimono contrast colors and patterns in a manner that only a ranking courtesan could pull off. Narrow dark and light green stripes with stylized roundels at her knees and at her collars are layered with beni-dyed kanoko (fawn spots) forming a hemp leaf pattern known as Hanshiro-kanoko, named for the beautiful kabuki actor, Iwai Hanshiro V (1776-1847), who wore it for a costume portraying the tragic greengrocer's daughter Oshichi in 1809. A purple and indigo striped obi embellished with circular leaping koi (carp) is tied at the front with the long tail-ends spilling out over her lap. Wide stripes are echoed in dark and light green on the hem of the uchikake (formal coat) draped over her shoulders which is decorated with a distinctive pattern of alternating silver and gold bands of karakusa (scrolling vines) linked with tassles that may represent kakuremino (cloak of invisibility, a treasure of the Lucky Gods). Although decked-out in all her finery and ready to host a patron, perhaps the uchikake worn as a cloak and empowered with the kakuremino has afforded Miyoshino this rare private moment of study and contemplation.

Chiba City Museum of Art, Keisai Eisen: Artist of the Floating World, 2012, p. 207, no. 268
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, accession no. 11.17945

(inv. no. 10-5275)

price: $3,500

Keisai Eisen

Kunisada, The Hour of the Rooster, Sixth Hour of Twilight, ca. 1818-20

Keisai Eisen

Eisen, The Wife's Habit of Wanting to Wear Something as Soon as She Looks at It, ca. 1820s


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 3, 2022

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