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An image of Standing beauty reading a letter by Hosoda EISHI

Hosoda EISHI

(Japan 1756 – 1829)

Standing beauty reading a letter
Place of origin
Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
circa 1814
Media category
Materials used
hanging scroll; ink and colour on silk

85.0 x 34.5 cm image; 169.0 x 45.9 x 51.0 cm

Signature & date
Signed l.r., in Japanese, inscribed in ink "[Chôbunsai Eishi hitsu]". Signed l.r., in Japanese, stamped in red ink "[artist's seal]". Not dated.
Purchased 2002
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

Hosoda EISHI was one of the 'three great masters of beautiful women' at the height of the 'ukiyo-e' prints (late 18th to early 19th century) alongside Kitagawa UTAMARO and Torii KIYONAGA. Elegance and grace as well as absence of sensuality characterise EISHI's depiction of women compared to the works by UTAMARO and KIYONAGA. This is usually attributed to EISHI's social status and training. Unlike most 'ukiyo-e' artists who were so-called 'town painters', EISHI was a high-ranking samurai, serving the Shogun. He studied painting under Kanô Eisen'in Norinobu, the then patriarch of the Kobikichô branch of the Kanô School. While serving the 10th Shogun Ieharu (1737-86) managing his personal effects and gifts, EISHI was also his painting companion.

After three years of service, EISHI retired on the pretext of illness and began painting in the 'ukiyo-e' style initially under instruction of a Torii School artist. For this, he was excommunicated from the official Kanô School, which prohibited their artists from practicing the commoners' art.

Unlike many 'ukiyo-e' artists whose paintings reveal their lack of proper training with brush, EISHI was adept at painting and left many quality nikuhitsu 'ukiyo-e' (hand painted 'ukiyo-e'), on which he is said to have concentrated in his later life.

Asian Art Dept. AGNSW, 29 May 2002.

Bibliography (3)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales Annual Report 2002, 'Year in review', pg. 8-25, Sydney, 2002, 10 (colour illus.), 11.

Jackie Menzies, Look, 'Asian Favourites', pg. 24-27, Newtown, Sep 2003, 25 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'The Floating World', Sydney, 2003, 250-251 (colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 251 is a detail of this work.