Eizan (1787-1867)

Camellia Sasanqua: Bijin Washing

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Eizan (1787-1867)
Camellia Sasanqua: Bijin Washing
New Textile Designs
Woodblock Print
c. 1820
15" x 10"
Eizan hitsu
Good color, very good impression, surface soiling

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About the art

In this sensual print, a woman slips her arm out of her robes, washing in front of a shallow basin of water. Looking behind her, she turns away as if alarmed by something outside of our view..

About the artist

A native of Edo, Eizan Kikugawa was born as Toshinobu Omiya in 1787. He began his artistic career studying with his father Eiji Kikugawa, a Kano painter and fan maker, before pursuing printmaking under Hokusai’s pupil Hokkei. From the start of the 19th century to his retirement, Eizan was leading artist of bijin-ga (pictures of beautiful women) and shunga woodblocks (erotic prints). He is considered the founder of the Kikugawa style. After 1830, he worked almost exclusively as a painter until his death in 1867.


Eizan admired and followed in the footsteps of Utamaro, despite the fact that he never trained with him. Working primarily in the genre of bijin-ga, Eizan captures beautiful women with sensibility and lyricism, imbuing them with an elegance and graceful classicality. Though the increased demand for ukiyo-e during the early 19th century caused some artists to rush their designs, Eizan resisted this pressure, maintaining impeccable design skills throughout his career.

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