EISEN, Keisai (1790-1848). Courtesan Momokawa.
Original woodblock, from the series "Pictures of Modern Figures," published by Kawaguchiya Chozo, printed in Japan, c.1840. 380 x 250 mm.
"The Print is a depiction of a high-ranking courtesan wearing a beautiful kimono decorated with a tiger and bamboo pattern. The print is executed almost exclusively with gradation of blue, only few details are filled in red. Known as aizuri-e, these type of pictures were in vogue for a few decades after Japan started to import Western blue printable ink known as Prussian Blue in the 1820’s. Before that blue ink was obtained with natural dyes that produced a fainter colour that had the tendency to fade. The intensity and brilliance of the new pigments greatly inspired ukiyo-e artist and captured their public. Capitalizing on this enthusiasm and sense of novelty aizuri-e with different subject matter were produced. This print is a fabulous example of aizuri-e applied to the bijin (beauty) subject matter with the red details highlighting some of the most sensuous details like the nape of the neck, lips, hair and undergarments."