Tomioka Eisen


The Hell Courtesan
(Shiki soku zeku)

kuchi-e (frontispiece) illustration vol. 9, no. 6 Bungei Kurabu (popular literary magazine); with artist's signature Mosai and seal Eisen, 1903

oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 9 3/8 in., 36.6 by 23.7 cm

This portrait of Jigoku Dayu ('The Hell Courtesan') emanating from mist drifting above a human skull accompanied the novel 'Shiki Soku Ze-ku' serialized in the Bungei Kurabu literary magazine in 1903. The title of the story, 'Shiki Soku Ze-ku,' is based on a Zen Buddhist sutra, the meaning of which can be translated as 'Form is Emptiness' or 'Everything Visible is Empty.'

Nanako Yamada, Mokuhan Kuchi-e (Survey of Woodblock Kuchi-e Prints), 2006, p. 312

(inv. no. C-3385)

price: $750


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