Eisen: Competition of beautiful womenEisen: Competition of beautiful women
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge

Eisen: Competition of beautiful womenEisen: Competition of beautiful women
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge

Eisen: Competition of beautiful womenEisen: Competition of beautiful women
Move your mouse over image or click to enlarge

Ikeda (Keisai) Eisen (1790-1848)

Title: Ehon mime kurabe (Competition of beautiful women, a picture book)

3 volumes, complete. Edo, c. 1822 (according to Honolulu, BM dates 1830-39). Preface in vol.1 with pseudonymous signature Inransai. Colour woodblock prints (nishiki-e), Japanese binding, original dark blue paper covers with yellow title slips. Measure: 22 x 15.8 cm.

Vol.1: 3 p. preface, 1 p. content, 3 single pages bust portraits (Ôkubi-e) of beauties, 6 double pages with love scenes, 1 single page with a enlarged large depiction of a vulva and penis, 10 p. text. In the Among the double page illustrations an unusual night scene with a jealous woman (hannya), wearing an iron head band with three burning candles (kanawa), at crescent moon.

Vol. 2: 1 single page (heads of a kissing couple), 6 double pages with lovers, 1 single page with a large depiction of a vulva, 10 p. text.

Vol. 3: 1 single page Ôkubi-e of a courtesan, 7 double pages with love scenes (including a couple with a cat), 1 single page with a large depiction of a vulva and penis in action, 8 pp. Text.

The sumptuously executed scenes in full double-page representations, in excellent impression and strong, fresh colours, with relief printing and metal pigments. Covers creased and somewhat rubbed off, inside pages occasional minimally finger-stained and rubbed at corners, occasional unobtrusive wormholes and minor stains, overall very good and clean condition.

Enclosed in vol. 2 are four small-size ink drawings on thin Japanese paper, erotic scenes with frivolous depictions, each c. 9 x 10 cm to 9.5 x 12 cm, partly slightly creased at margins, otherwise very good.

A rare and well preserved major work of Eisen, an extremely productive and highly acclaimed artist in the field of erotic illustrations, who, according to his own statements, even possessed a brothel himself at times.
Cf. British Museum, No. OA+,0.472.1-2 (vols. 2 and 3 only), Honolulu Museum of Art, Richard Lane Coll., No. 2016-56-032.01 (vol. 1 only). See also Rosina Buckland, Shunga. Erotic Art in Japan, 2013/2013, p. 142f (fig.)

Additional images can be sent on request by e-mail.

€ 9.500,-