Hosoda Eishi
c. 1789

Signed: Eishi ga; Publisher’s seal: Sen’ichi han (Izumiya Ichibei); uki-e, right panel of an ōban triptych, 39.5 x 25.5 cm; benigirai-e with shōmenzuri and gomazuri

From “The Tale of Genji in Elegant Modern Guise” (Genji-monogatari, ch. 20, Asagao) The print on the right of the triptych is from a series on the Genji-monogatari. The entire series has been printed in elegant, muted grey and purple. Warm colours like pink and red were avoided, which is why such works are called benigirai-e (“red-hating picture”). In the late 1780s Eishi and Shunman were noted for working in this style. This print provides us with a view into a series of rooms at the palace in Western central perspective (uki-e).

Huguette Beres, Paris (November 1960)
Riese Collection #85

This is the right panel of a triptych from a series illustrating different chapters from the Tale of Genji, all of them printed in an elegant and muted range of greys and purples. This restricted palette, since it avoided the warm colours like rose and red, became known as benigirai-e, and was used frequently in the late 1780s, especially by Eishi and Shunman.

In the centre panel of this composition, a young man representing Prince Genji is seated on the floor of the room, facing an interior courtyard. In this panel one of the many young women surrounding him brings him a tray with poem slips to inscribe. In the background, in one of the other rooms of the mansion, stands a kanō-style painted screen. Six other triptychs in this series are presently known: Hana no En, Suma, Momiji no Iwai, Matsukaze, Hotaru, and Wakana. The complete triptych for the Asagao chapter is illustrated in Ukiyo-e Jiten, Vol. 3, p. 150. An impression of the complete triptych is in the British Museum.

Reproduced in Ingelheim catalogue, no. 77.

For a further note on this print see R. Hempel, Holzschnittkunst Japans, Stuttgart, 1963, pp. 151 ff.