Kikugawa Eizan


Fashionable Ide Yamabuki
(Furyu Ide Yamabuki)

signed Eizan hitsu, with publisher's seal Sen'ichi han (Izumiya Ichibei, Kansendo), censor's seal Kiwame (approved), ca.1809-14

oban tate-e triptych 14 7/8 by 29 3/4 in., 37.9 by 75.7 cm

Although the title identifies the subject as a view of fashionable ladies and blooming yamabuki (mountain roses) flourishing along the banks of the Ide River, idiosyncratic elements to their stylish ensembles, such as wearing male courtier caps, indicate this is a mitate (parody). The combination of the central figure on horseback accompanied by attendants carrying male accoutrements including shoes, a sword, and a rolled up tent, suggest the poet Ariwara no Narihira (825-880 AD) and his episode known as Azuma kudari (journey to the East) during a period of disillusionment as retold in the Tale of Ise (Ise Monagatari).

As each sheet of multi-panel woodblock print was often designed to be appreciated individually as well as assembled, they are by their very nature vulnerable to being separated from each other (either by accident or intent), and it is particularly unusual for triptychs from this period (or earlier) to survive intact and with excellent color. That said, the hint of a lone horse hoof in the lower right corner of the left sheet raises the possibility that this grouping was originally comprised of more panels, likely a pentaptych. However, thus far we were unable to locate any of these three sheets or any other designs that might be associated with this composition.

(inv. no. 10-5451)

price: $6,500

Kikugawa Eizan
detail (center sheet)

Kikugawa Eizan
detail (left sheet)


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site last updated
March 21, 2023

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475