Hosoda Eishi, ‘Fashions as Fresh as Young Leaves: Shiratsuyu’, Scholten Japanese Art

signed Eishi zu, with censor's seal Kiwame, publisher's tomo-e mark and seal Eijudo (Nishimuraya Yohachi), ca. 1795-96

oban tate-e 15 3/8 by 10 1/4 in., 39 by 26 cm

A regal portrait of the courtesan Shiratsuyu of the Wakana-ya glancing over her shoulder while seated and holding a tobacco pipe. Her rose-colored outer-robe decorated with folding fans and lined with purple shibori silk falls open at her knees to reveal the white inner-robe which is decorated with an embossed pattern of cherry blossoms. In an interesting demonstration of the pageantry the Yoshiwara, the names of her her two kamuro (young girl attendants), Isoji and Isono, are also listed in the round title cartouche, as though to remind us, the viewer (and customer at the time), of all that the Wakana-ya had to offer. To that end, in a more complete display of their grandeur, Eishi depicts Shiratsuyu on parade with Isoji and Isono on the center sheet of an incomplete triptych in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Series: Fashions as Fresh as Young Leaves

Image rights: Scholten Japanese Art

Publisher: Nishimuraya Yohachi

Klaus J. Brandt, Hosoda Eishi: 1756-1829, Stuttgart, 1977, p. 141, cat. no. 216
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.14014

About Hosoda Eishi