Eishi Chobunsai, Seven Lucky Gods, Hashira-e Pillar Print


Artist: Eishi Chobunsai (1756 - 1829)
Title: Seven Lucky Gods
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yohachi
Date: early 19th century
Size: 63.0 x 11.7 cm

Original Japanese woodblock print.

eishi chobunsai, seven lucky gods, hashira-e pillar print
eishi chobunsai, seven lucky gods, hashira-e pillar print eishi chobunsai, seven lucky gods, hashira-e pillar print

Hashira-e, or pillar prints, is a narrow print format originally intended for decoration of the supporting pillars in traditional Japanese houses. The prints would have been pasted to the pillars and exposed to the elements of the Japanese household, making those that have survived very rare collectibles. While these more unusual sizes present their own challenges to the printing process, they also allow the artist to be experimental, imaginative, and innovative with the design’s compositional limitations.

Subjects range from the traditional portrayals of bijin (beautiful women), to legendary figures and heroes, to birds and flowers, in a limited space brimming with artistic imagination and expression.

Eishi Chobunsai

In the genre of Japanese art, Eishi Chobunsai, also known as Eishi Hosoda, was an ukiyo-e painter and print designer, regarded for his depictions of tall, thin, graceful beauties. The eldest son of a local Edo samurai official of the Hosoda family, Eishi studied under Kano Michinobu, and served as an official court painter to the shogunate for a number of years. His art-name, Eishi, was granted to him personally by the shogun Tokugawa Ieharu (1737-1786).

However in the mid-1780s, Eishi made a dramatic change, and moved from the realm of elite painting to ukiyo-e, becoming a pupil of Bunryusai and the Torii school. His style shows influence from Utamaro Kitagawa, Torii Kiyonaga and others, but bears distinctive elements as well. Eishi's women are tall and slender, a continuation and development of a trend begun by Utamaro and Kiyonaga. They exude a refinement and grace rarely exceeded in bijinga (prints of beautiful women) by other artists. Eishi’s artistic output includes Shunga (erotic pictures), as well as prints with themes taken from Japanese and Chinese mythology, and romantic scenes.

Around 1798, he quit print designs, and turned his attention more fully to painting. It is said that one of his handscrolls, depicting scenes along the Sumidagawa, so impressed the wealthy patrons for whom it was painted that they presented it at a special showing to the Imperial family. This was an especially rare honour for a common ukiyo-e piece, one which perhaps no other ukiyo-e artist ever enjoyed.

More Information
Print FormatHashira-e (Pillar Print)
ArtistEishi Chobunsai
SubjectGhosts & Religion
Dimensions63.0 x 11.7 cm
Condition ReportJoined. Repaired holes, glue residue, diagonal crease in bottom right corner, horizontal creasing, discolouration, stains, soiling.
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