N.1 fukkoku woodblock print
Period: second half of the 20th century
Condition: very good
Size: 26,5 x 39,5 cm



Beautiful woodblock print of vertical large oban (大判) format made by the ukiyo-e (浮世絵) artist Chobunsai Eishi (鳥文斎栄之) and depicting a charming beauty, sitting next to a writing table, while waiting to get inspired to write a waka (和歌) poem on a hakusen (白扇) calligraphy fan. The woman is the courtesan Hanaogi (花扇), who was active at the house of pleasure Ogiya (扇屋) in the Shin Yoshiwara (新吉原) district.

The print is taken from the series “Beauties of the Houses of Pleasure as Six Immortal Flowers” (青樓美人六花仙). The title of this series is the result of a graceful play on ideograms: the expression “rokkasen” (六花仙) translated as “six immortal flowers” is a reference to the famous “Rokkasen” (六歌仙), the “six immortal poets”. The substitution of the kanji of poetry (歌) with that of the flower (花) creates an obvious allusion to the women who are matched, as we see in the upper left corner, to a flower; in this case to a peony.

The work, printed for the first time around 1794 by the publisher Nishimuraya Yohachi (西村屋与八), owner of Eijudo (永寿堂), is presented here in a fine woodblock reprint, in very good general condition, of the second half of the 20th century made by the carver Endo Kokyoku (遠藤光局) and by the printer Hosoi Fumio (細井文雄).