Eisen, Young Woman Walking Under an Umbrella

Keisai Eisen (1790 - 1848) Young Woman Walking Under an Umbrella, c1844. Kakemono-e.

Keisai Eisen is an important ukiyo-e artist who studied under the similarly named Kikugawa Eizan. As with this marvellous classic print, Eisen is principally known as a master of the Bijin or Beauty print and this is no exception. The format is referred to as Kakemono; typically two oban prints placed one on top of another. These vertical prints were the closest that the Japanese of Edo had to our notion of hanging paintings on walls. The double print was usually attached to a scroll of heavier paper or silk and hung in a dining alcove as display. Because of this they are not usually as well preserved as single oban sheets that were often stitched into albums and handled less.

This is a fine example of Eisen at his very best. Typical in format the bijin figure fully occupies the two sheets, bent against the wind and bent somehow into the confines of the picture frame. The drawing on the piece is quite exceptional as is the unfaded delicacy of colour and decoration. The woman wears a kimono decorated with the crest of the Genji clan, her undergarment is decorated in cherry blossoms. She holds a book beneath her arm.

The two sheets are separate. The print is in good condition with strong colour and impression. There is some age wear to the edges and a small piece missing to the top left of the lower sheet. For age and format the condition is very good and in the same condition as the MFA Boston version. Eisen is an expensive and collectible artist.

Signed: Keisai Eisen ga.

Published by Sanoya Kihei. 

Censor: Fukatsu Ihei 1843 -1845.