COURT LADIES (Tomioka Eisen)

N.1 kuchi-e woodblock print
Year: 1897
Condition: good
Size: 29 x 22 cm



Elegant woodblock print of the kuchi-e (口絵) type made by the artist Tomioka Eisen (富岡永洗) as the frontispiece of vol. 2 (下巻) of the “Collection of Japanese Women’s Etiquette” (日本女礼式大全), by the writer Tsuboya Zenshiro (坪谷善四郎), and depicting three Heian (平安) style court ladies writing poems on tanzaku (短冊) paper strips.

Tomioka Eisen (1864 – 1905), a pupil of Kobayashi Eitaku (小林永濯), began working as a freelance artist when he was still a draughtsman in the imperial army. After the disappearance of his master, he devoted himself entirely to his artistic career and became a very appreciated and well-paid magazine illustrator. He died only forty-one years old, when the kuchi-e movement was in full bloom.

The print, produced in August 1897 by the Hakubunkan (博文館) publishing house, despite the obvious signs of aging on the Japanese washi paper (和紙) and some slight bends in the lower left corner, is in overall good condition.