Eisen Keisai, Abuna-e, Kiss, Erotic Print


Artist: Eisen Keisai (1790-1848)
Title: Abuna-e, Kiss
Date: Early 19th century
Size: 24.8 x 37.6 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

Abuna-e refers to suggestive and sensual images, a substratum of the more explicit shunga [lit. spring pictures]. In Japan, the late eighteenth century saw such imagery banned under new laws, forcing artists who still desired to produce them to leave their works unsigned. Although these designs may appear rather innocuous, some contemporaries considered abuna-e more erotically charged due to their workings on the imagination.

Eisen Keisai (1790 - 1848)

Keisai Eisen was an artist, who alongside Kunisada I (Toyokuni III), was renowned for his beauty prints, depicting courtesans and geisha in everyday life, sometimes touching on the erotic in nature. Despite his devotion to the genre he also produced noteworthy landscape prints such as the ‘Eight Views of Edo’ (‘Edo Hakkei’) series, occasionally collaborating with Hiroshige I. Eisen is also known for his development of aizuri-e, which is a term that describes ukiyo-e that is printed only in shades of blue. This technique was popular in the 1830s and 1840s and has been employed by various artists, including Hokusai. He began an apprenticeship in art early on in life, studying with the Kano painter Hakkeisai. He later was looked after by Kikugawa Eiji and became known as a pupil of Eiji’s son, Kikugawa Eizan, who was his contemporary, through curious circumstances. The feudal lord of the Hishu province wanted to own all prints produced by Kikugawa Eizan’s students and received a collection of them, in which Keisai Eisen’s prints were included. Thereafter, Eisen was then considered to be Eizan’s student, too.

More Information
Print FormatOban (Horizontal)
ArtistEisen Keisai (1790 - 1848)
SubjectBeauty & Female, Samurai & Male, Male & Female, Shunga Erotica
Size24.8 x 37.6 cm
Condition ReportSlightly trimmed and worn-out edges, vertical centrefold, minor wormholes and stains.