Eisen: Courtesan Masanagi of the Tamaya

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Artist: Keisai Eisen (1790-1848)
Title: The Courtesan Masanagi of the Tamaya Seated near a Lattice Window
Series: Eight Views of the Pleasure Quarters 曲中八契 (Kuruwa hakkei) 
Date: ca. 1825

The courtesan Masanagi of the famous Tamaya house is seated in all of her finery, looking contemplative as she waits for a visitor. Her arms are crossed as well as her toes as she sits in front of the lattice windows of her workplace, perhaps feeling that peevish combination of impatience and boredom while waiting. The weight of her layers of brocade as well as the multitude of tortoiseshell hairpins must feel outsize for a person of her stature.  This original design was also chosen to be made into a 20th century reproduction, which speaks to the strength of its design.

Literature: Other prints in the series may be found in Chiba City Museum of Art, Keisai Eisen (2012), #51-52.

Condition: Excellent impression, color and condition. Very minor surface soil near edges. Untrimmed and unbacked.
Dimensions: ôban (38.3 x 26.4 cm)
Publisher: Otaya Sakichi
Signature: Keisai Eisen ga