Ito Shinsui, 1898-1972
The First Collection of Modern Beauties: Hand Mirror
(Gendai bijin shu dai isshu: Tekagami)
embellished with mica highlights on her obi and the mirror, signed and dated Showa rokunen ichigatsu ganjitsu Shinsui ga (Showa 6 , January, New Year's Day, by Shinsui), with artist's seal Shinsui, publisher's seal Watanabe, and hand-numbered limited edition seal on verso, Nihyakugoju mai zeppan, dai hyaku-yonju-roku ban (250 limited edition, number 146), followed by publisher's rectangular seal, Watanabe, 1931
dai oban tate-e 17 1/8 by 11 in., 43.5 by 28 cm
A maiko (teenage apprentice geisha) pauses to check her hair ornaments in her compact mirror, the reflective surface printed with mica. She wears a deep blue kimono decorated with a scattering of stylized cherry blossoms. Her lustrous obi is highlighted with mica, the stiff fabric is tied in an angular knot with panels that show a playful motif including the face of a yakkodako (figure-shaped kite), an archery target with stylized arrow, and the top edge of a hagoita (wooden paddle used in a game called hanetsuki (similar to badminton). Kite flying (tako-age), hanetsuki, and archery (kyudo) are all activities associated with New Year's celebrations (in 1655, after a craze in kite-flying led to a rash of accidents with people falling off roofs, the shogunate banned kite flying except during the New Year), quite appropriate for a print dated New Year's Day.
Tadasu Watanabe, Ito Shinsui: All the Woodblock Prints, 1992, p. 95, no. 58
Amy Reigle Newland and Hamanaka Shinji, The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties, 2000, p. 67, no. 62
Andreas Marks, Seven Masters: 20th Century Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Wells Collection, 2015, p. 124, cat. no. 75
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.
site last updated
October 28, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
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